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How to Keep Children Engaged and Entertained Throughout the Summer Holidays
Aldwickbury School

The last half of the school year was a little strange for us all. We, as educators had to find our feet with schooling remotely. You, as parents, had to try and play teacher. And the children had to adapt to learning in a new environment away from their peers. Whilst it all felt pretty far away from our daily ‘normal’, we’re extremely proud of how everyone coped in their roles. We certainly felt like we finished the year on a high.

The summer holidays are now well underway and we’re taking the opportunity to relax, rewind and reset before another busy term begins in September. We know as well as anyone how hard that can be – we often find ourselves dreaming up new lesson plans and imagining what the boys will like most about them! But as we try our best to put the books and board pens down for a couple of months, we want you to do the same, and find ways to stay switched off throughout the entirety of the summer holidays.

It's important to stay switched off right to the end, making the most of the time that we have with our families before a return to school in September. This, however, can be easier said than done – and keeping children engaged and entertained for the whole of summer can sometimes be a complex task. That’s why we’ve put together some handy tips to help you rest, recover, and keep your children entertained for the remainder of the school holidays.

Why it is important to switch off in the holidays

To allow you to reset and recover

Stress takes its toll on everyone and so it is important to recognise periods of time which offer the opportunity for a slower pace of life. Your body needs space to process and remove the stress hormones which build up during the school term. If you continue to add to these levels during the holidays, you will return feeling as stressed and anxious as you finished. Allow this time for some R&R and make sure you are fighting fit to go again in September.

To invest in yourself 

During the school week, it’s very easy to find yourself constantly running around for other people, trying to tick off all the tasks that need to be done each day. You’ve got to wake up the children, get them dressed, pack their games kit, drive them to school, help them with their homework… the list goes on. And that’s even before you’ve started to think about all the jobs YOU need to do for YOURSELF.

Take the holidays as an opportunity to switch off a little and use the time to focus on you a bit more. Get back your mornings and actually plan time to sit at the breakfast table over a coffee and porridge. It will do wonders for your mental space as you relax gently into the day without feeling like you’re already two steps behind where you need to be.

To spend time with your family

It’s all systems go during term time and weekends just fly by too quickly. Your family deserve the time to just hang out and be together. The summer holidays are the perfect opportunity for that. Plan an adventure where the aim is to just have fun, live in the moment and feel great about life with the people you love. As important as we know learning is, not every activity has to have an end goal or outcome. If you’re having fun, then you’re doing it right!

Activities to do over the summer holidays

We love a routine as much as anyone, and as tiring as the school term can be, it does provide excellent structure to our lives - which can go out the window in the holidays. How often do you hear the phrase, “I’m bored” when the boys are occupied with schooling, homework and extra-curricular activities?

As we enter the ‘business end’ of the holiday period, the moments when you’re not quite sure what adventures to go on and how to make the most of the time you’ve got may increase - and we thought we’d share some of our favourite suggestions to see you through the rest of the summer break. What’s more, all of these are COVID friendly. Enjoy!

Ready, steady, cook

As the summer weather starts to turn and the rain comes in, make the most of the indoors again. Wouldn’t it be great if you had the next Michelle Roux or Jamie Oliver in your family?  Try something simple like pizza making. You can just start with just toppings or if you’re feeling brave, you could even make the dough from scratch. Put on your chef’s hat and be the judge of who tops theirs the best – it’s a perfect activity for having friends around. And the added bonus; you don’t have to cook dinner!

 

Build a fort

Get the boys to channel their inner explorer and build their own liveable camp. Head out to the woods and set them the task of making a nature camp which is waterproof and could sleep at least one person for a night. Watch them get creative with designing different living areas – like the kitchen, play areas too. Alternatively, now that the hot spell is behind us, choose to stay indoors and use a variety of sheets, chairs, blankets etc to set up camp for a movie night. 

Organise a sports day

Rounders in the park, egg and spoon races, penalty shoot-out. Bring back the old school field games. Why not organise your own mini sports day in the garden (socially distanced, of course) and get family and friends involved for a bit of added competition? You could always bring along some picnic food too and enjoy a catch up with your friends whilst the boys do the hard work running around. 

 

Be a tourist in your own town

When we go on abroad, we are always really keen to explore new places and see the sites, but for some reason, in our own town we feel like we don’t need to be as proactive. With Eat Out to Help Out now in full swing, take the time to look up what is going on in your area and see the different opportunities to take advantage of. Head into nature and get lost on a walk around the fields. Visit that monument you’ve always walked past but know nothing about. Book a table at the local café you’ve been staring through the window of for months. You never know what wonders you and the boys might discover in your back garden.

Keep a scrapbook of your holiday experiences

Wouldn’t a scrap book be cool for show and tell? With the new school year just around the corner, keep the memory of what you got up to over the summer by documenting it all in a scrapbook – pictures, captions, discoveries. Not only is it a fun activity to actually create and build the book, but it will bring you pleasure for years to come as you look back through it and remember the amazing times you had. And the more fun adventures you get in the diary, the more time you get to spend documenting it all. It’s a real winner of an activity.

Winding down for the entirety of summer and enjoying this time to the full is really one of the most important things you can do and there are plenty of ways to make it the relaxing and fun time you deserve. Take the time to recharge those batteries so you are ready to go again in September. We can’t wait to hear what you and the boys have gotten up to!