5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays

 5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays parenting school holidays boredom buster activities

5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays

So the school holidays are fast approaching and you’re asking yourself how to keep the kids’ brains active and keep them learning over the hols.

Here are 5 tried and tested ways to do just that:

Let them get bored!

Yes, ditch the structure and don’t plan anything.  Let them get bored occasionally and I’ll bet that their imaginations will start doing the work to keep their brains active the scenes!  While we certainly son’t be banning electronics, turning them off and letting our 8yo ‘be’ will be quite a regular occurrence this Summer.

 

That said, boredom busters definitely have their place…

We all know those days when bedtime can’t come fast enough (ours not necessarily theirs!).  So keep a few easy ideas up your sleeve for the “I’m boooored” moments.  Check the local activities for the summer.  Many school children receive a kind of activites directory and many of the sessions are drop-ins.  Meaning happy kids and peace and quiet for you… for now.

 

Give them a challenge

From riding a bike to swimming, from reading to tying their shoe laces; being active doesn’t have to mean be physical activity all the time.  Maybe they could learn to do some of these challenges, giving them a sense of achievement, building confidence and keeping their brain switched on.

 

Get them up!

I’m all for lazy mornings in the hols (trust me!) but there are times that the sleeping until lunchtime habit needs to be broken for older children.  So give the older children jobs to do with the condition that they’re done in the morning, and maybe even pay them or give them a non-monetary incentive.  It’s a really good idea to do this in the last week or so before ‘back to school’ because it gets them used to the idea of getting up and getting going after a long break, and also gets them tired if they’re up ‘early’!

 

Have a tidy up

This works well for younger children.  A good tidy up reveals long-forgotten toys that refresh the imagination and gives you some breathing space in a less cluttered living space.  And what do you do with all those toys, you all get out of the 4 walls and take them to the charity shop!

5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays parenting school holidays boredom buster activities

 

I asked some other bloggers for their thoughts and here are some of their fantastic suggestions:

Jen from Just Average Jen says: My son has always loved to make his own newspaper or guidebook full of things he has found out or enjoyed. He then sells it to people like Grandma and gets extra money to spend!

 

I love this idea and will definitely be using it, from Victoria at Lylia Rose: My daughter loves the learning workbooks they sell in our local office supplies store. They are for each key state and they have spelling and maths books. She has a word search one at the moment which she finds fun, but it’s aimed at helping with spellings. They’re only a couple of pounds each and she thinks they’re something fun rather than ‘work’!

 

Rebecca from You Me Raising 3 suggests: Limit screen time as I find this can reduce their motivation to get outside and explore. My kids love experimenting and making things so anything science based is a hit! Ice eggs with dinosaurs in for them to dig out is one activity we will try. wipe clean books to practice letters and numbers are also great (preschool age), taking them out on walks to explore nature and recording what we find.

 

Finally, Kelly from School Run Shop says let them be: Let them explore – nature, their surroundings, new places. There’s no better learning than letting them just ‘be’.

What would you add?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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Book review ~ One Third Stories

Book Review One Third Stories Help Your Child to Learn A New Language

Book Review ~ One Third Stories

 
When I heard about One Third Stories – ‘a story that starts in English and ends in another language’, I was intrigued.
 
Book Review One Third Stories Full Help Your Child to Learn A New Language 2
 
The people at Boolino asked which language I would like to review and I chose the Spanish because I thought it would be a good starting point.  Those episodes of Dora the Explorer must have given our 7 year old a good grounding for Spanish surely?…

 

Seriously though, not being a language expert, I also thought Spanish might be one of the more straight-forward languages.
So that’s what I thought, but I was also interested to see how our daughter would approach it and how she would react.
She loves reading and happily reads fluently alone.  And so I had little doubt of her capabilities.  As I said, she’s also seen her fair share of Dora so I thought she would already have a feel for the intonations of Spanish as a language!  A logical conclusion to draw perhaps?!

 

The unboxing

What made me smile on reading this book was her realisation that some of the book was in a different language!
When we opened the parcel, she read the cover and I explained what it was.
Curious, she began to read and by page 4  she came across a Spanish word which was very cleverly woven into the text.  Having been through phonics, sounding out and blending with her, it was fascinating to hear her do the same with the Spanish word.
 
Book Review One Third Stories Full Help Your Child to Learn A New Language Reading
I did have to jump in and tell her how to pronounce ‘si’.  But due to the accompanying pictures, the word meaning was pretty self-explanatory within the context of the story.
Genius!

 

Does the concept work?

Having the Spanish slotted into the text didn’t slow the story down at all, which I thought may have been the case.
A very clever concept that works brilliantly with competent, engaged readers (or at least a 7 year old and her mum!).  I can see how this book (and no doubt others in the series) would aide in actually introducing a different language and therefore learning new, basic words.

 

My thoughts

Based on our experience and our daughter’s reaction, I would highly recommend this book.
Not only for the general concept of ending in a different language but also for the sheets of ‘flash cards’ that come with it.  On one side you have the Spanish and the other is the English.  A great idea to enhance visual learning.  What also impressed me about this book visually was at the start, the numbers were introduced alongside clear drawings of the number of the relevant item, so the child can count them and work out what the Spanish word is for themselves.  The package also came with a free audio book download which is a great idea for the pronunciations and also a cute Spanish fact file that you can see here.
 
Book Review One Third Stories Full Help Your Child to Learn A New Language With Fact File

One Third Stories came with a cute Spanish Fact File

 

With an RRP of £14.99, there is value for money because you do get a fair amount for your money – a good quality, sturdy story book with flash cards.  My initial thoughts were that it’s a little bit pricey, but when I considered the concept a little more; that this series could engage with your child and ease your child into a new language, I do think it’s worth it.

 

What language would you consider buying for your child?  Tell me in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere 🙂

*I was sent this book for the purposes of this review but all words and opinions are my own (and my daughter’s!)

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“Look through the windows” ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

Poem ~ “Look Through The Windows”

As I republish this poem in the UK, it’s the time of year that many, many young people are starting school, on whatever level.  And as you read this poem, I believe that the words speak for themselves…

Wonderful World of Writing blog writing linky poem look through the windows and see demolition school learning knowledge 2

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Once upon a time someone took a brick,

Some cement and a trowel and then bit by bit…

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They stacked one brick, then two, then three bricks then four,

On top of each other and then took some more…

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They built some more walls until

there were four,

Added a roof, some windows, a lockable door…

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The building was ready, but who had the key?

They looked at each other saying, “not you or me!”

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“How do you get in?” they wondered aloud,

And looked at the building standing tall and proud…

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Then someone came along with a book and a pen,

Opened the door and said, “Let’s get started then!”…

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And then there followed a sight to behold,

More people walked through the door, I am told…

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It was a doorway to learning, a place to strive,

To do your best, be your best from the age of ’bout five…

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The adults were people, teaching what they knew,

Mr Price, Mrs Hoy, to name one or two…

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They had a yearning to teach all that they knew,

Mr Hunt, Mrs Croxford, the school grew and grew…

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Mrs Hucker, Mr Salton, the school was still growing

With a thirst for knowledge and appetite for knowing…

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Mrs Duckmanton, Mrs Molesworth and others no doubt,

My memory’s foggy, who have I missed out?

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Friendships were cemented, the knowledge was too,

Now the digger’s in the playground and the rubble is too…

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The skyline is changing, it’s a moment in time,

“Do not enter – demolition site” reads the sign…

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Now we look back but ahead to the future,

As the school welcomed a new Head called Miss Luter…

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And through the years we’ve seen staff come and go,

The school moved to a new site “as we learn then we grow”…

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It’s seen so much learning, this building half crumbled

“The end of an era” the old school has mumbled…

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But look through the windows not yet broken and see

Happy memories belonging to you and to me…

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By Carol Cameleon 2016

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Got some writing to share? Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere using the #WonderfulWorldofWriting or #www hashtag and I’ll retweet!

WonderfulWorldofWriting

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Somewhere to learn, to grow, to play ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

Wonderful World of Writing blog writing linky poem school transform cot to desk learn grow play learning growing playing

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In a recent Wonderful World of Writing post, I shared how our little girl uses her ‘Imagination Station’ and here’s a short poem about how it came to be…

Somewhere to learn, to grow, to play…

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Once upon a time you were a little bear

Born 3 weeks early, you were tiny with no hair,

You slept in your cot through the night, give or take

And rarely did you stir, not a noise did you make…

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The cot was your cousins’

And has a tale or two to tell,

Many a time between you all it’s

Heard the ‘odd’ scream or yell!

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Lost dummies, stuffed teddies

Wedged ‘tween mattress and frame,

I’d nudge your Daddy, “Your turn!”

Or at least that was my aim…

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Fast forward a few years

And now you’ve started school,

“I know!”, I shrilled with a brainwave,

And went to fetch the rule…

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With measurements to hand,

We got some wood chopped and changed,

Then spread a layer of blackboard paint

And when dry we re-arranged…

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Your playpen came down,

Your baby toys given away,

Your cot transformed into a desk,

Somewhere to learn, to grow, to play…

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By Carol Cameleon

Originally published under MummyBearsBlog but with a brand new school term on the horizon, I thought it would be nice to look back at how much our little girl has grown physically and mentally.  Her desk is truly a place ‘to learn, to grow, to play…’

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Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting and link up with any genre of writing… I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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The Imagination Station ~ #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky nursery rhymes books by a little bear aged 5 primary school learning education literacy

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This week, the last in our little bear’s Reception year at ‘big’ school, I’m not penning a poem (like I did last week).  Instead, I’m handing the spotlight over to our little bear (aged 5) and her imagination station!

Hubby and I are passionate about reading to our little bear.  She has a desk that will grow with her as she goes through the various stages of development in literacy at school.  When I was blogging as Mummy Bear, I wrote this poem about changing her cot into a desk.  And she uses this desk daily.  At this stage of her life, she uses it for colouring, writing, sticking, crafting ~ being creative.  As she goes through school, I’m sure it will be used for more ‘focussed’ activities…

As the end of Reception approached, we began to sit at it (me/hubby teetering on the edge of a little chair!) while doing her homework.  This meant that it needed a good tidy up but it has also put her in the homework mindset.

Her desk gives her ready access to all things creative, ready access to all things that fuel a 5 year old’s imagination and this is what she came up with.

nursery rhymes book writing literacy inspired creative humpty dumpty wonderfulworldofwriting 1 edit collage

As I was pottering around, she asked me how to spell the odd word.  But really, the majority of this is her own work.  And that’s what makes me oh-so-very-proud 🙂

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Goodbye Reception, Year 1 here I come! ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

WonderfulWorldofWriting blog writing linky poem prose goodbye reception year 1 one primary school learning education

Goodbye Reception, Year 1 here I come!

Just like the hungry caterpillar,

You’ve fed me, you’ve taught me, you’ve watched me grow bigger…

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Now I’m ready to come out of my cocoon,

It’s time to spread my wings, time to bloom…

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I’ve grown into a beautiful butterfly,

I’m off to year 1 now, time for ‘goodbye’!…

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An ode to Our Little Bear’s teacher, teaching assistants and all the amazing staff who were involved in her vital first year at ‘big’ school.  I do not know where the last academic year has gone…  good job I didn’t blink 😉 

By Carol Cameleon 2015

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Down on the farm ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

Down on the farm …

What is this in my Pop’s hand?

It’s a little black seed that he plants in the land.

“How does it grow?” I ask my Pop,

He tells me how he looks after his crops.

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I wonder aloud, “Do you plant with a spade?”

He tells me how his crops are made:

In bygone years tools were pulled by a horse,

Now we have tractors to take the force.

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Our little bear at five years old

Is taking it in, and learning tenfold,

Like the sun and rain helps the crops to grow,

She’s growing from Pop telling all that he knows.

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Down on the farm, you can see that she thrives,

What a special time to have when you’re five.

She explores with her cousins, and a grown-up too,

With the farm at her feet, there’s so much to do.

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Today she’s dressed up, she’s been a Princess all day!

But usual attire is for outdoor play.

Good job we remembered her Frozen wellies,

For trudging through soil and farmyard smellies!

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No matter, it washes, who cares about dirt?

With soil in her nails, mud on her skirt,

She’s having a ball, she’s free, she’s alive!

Memories to last for the rest of her life… 🙂

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By Carol Cameleon 2015

Join in with #WonderfulWorldofWriting … I’ll share every post on twitter and other social media.  Tweet your post direct to me @AllSortsHere and I’ll retweet (it’d be great if you could use #WonderfulWorldofWriting too!)

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