As summer has set in, parents and children are busy planning their vacations together to get away to cooler places, to the hills or by the sea.
While kids are eagerly looking forward to those long morning hours of uninterrupted sleep, parents have begun worrying about how to engage the child constructively during the summer break.
Children should never get bored, and should be allowed to explore their space since it leads to amazing discoveries and learning. I remember my days as a child when I would go around collecting leaves and flowers from trees such as ‘Tamarind’ and ‘Gulmohar’ to cook in my pretend play. The same came in handy and I could relate my high school teaching to beautiful childhood memories when my teacher taught us about leaf classification or types of petal whorls in flowers .
Having said this, it is equally important for us as parents to not leave our children unattended or without directions. Options to choose from, helps kids plan their day better.This is called ‘flexibility within structure’ which children often like.
Today’s parenting has changed drastically. Both parents are often working and find it difficult to club their breaks with their children’s vacations. Let us look at some simple but interesting ways to keep our children engaged, during the hot summer months.
1. Keep children active and healthy
After having their fill of staying in bed for long uninterrupted morning sleep, plan an exciting morning schedule. plan to go cycling early in the morning as a family. Pack a juice and a sandwich to have it and enjoy breakfast together in a park in the city. The experience of watching the city wake up, the aroma of morning freshness, birds chirping, observing the neighbourhood and a sense of independence while manoeuvring the roads will leave memories that last a lifetime.
We can also look at enrolling our kids for morning swimming, or self defence classes like karate to remain active and healthy.
2. Engaging children in reading
Reading can be a great summer activity and bonding time.Let the children pick books that interest them. Make reading fun. Take reading to a different level of discussing the end and the beginning. Quizzing each other on the journey of the favourite character in the story. Let this be an activity on weekends or alternate evenings to avoid making it too academic and easy for working parents.
3. Exploring the country or the world
Plan the trips together. Involve the kids in searching for the places to visit. Plan the schedule together. This helps parents plan and also keeps the children engaged and involved and is a major life skill.
4. Art and craft
These should be a major part of the summer plan. Leave the kids with a basket full of child friendly craft material. Lead the kid with some ideas and see what emerges.
5. Encourage collecting mementos for friends
Mementos should be from the nature around you. Kids love collecting twigs, leaves, pebbles, stones. Immerse with the kids to identify the differences and similarities and segregation of rocks, etc. It is a lovely experience to colour the rocks with crayons. Bright coloured rocks will make a great personalised memento. The twigs and leaves can be used to create a collage on cards as new year or birthday cards.
6. And so many more activities..
There are hundreds of activities like star gazing, gardening, fireless cooking, watching films together, enjoying playing in the mud or sand pits, depending on you and your child’s age and interest. These do not take time or effort but will surely leave memories for a lifetime.
All children need encouragement and ideas from their parents. Be it little children in pre nursery school, or kindergarten or primary school, they all need age appropriate ideas and activities. Children in middle and senior schools could focus on skill development. The top Schools in Gurgaon are conducting summer camps for children of all ages. Parents can visit the schools and check which programs are appropriate for their children. They can evaluate the programs based on creativity, uniqueness, quality of instructors and safety.
Co-founder of Vega Schools
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