It’s summertime, and your tiny tots are just looking for a bit of fun! In this article, learn how to deliver the same, by creating ‘curated’ holidays for your little ones, filled with activities they especially enjoy.
Are you ready for fun and learning during the summer holidays? Do you remember the days spent gazing at the sky, devouring delicious bhajias, playing games in the hot sun, or, if you were like me, creating a reading wish list and then nagging the librarian to get those books for you?
While the holidays we remember have evolved, one thing stays the same. The word ‘holiday’ is greeted by unwavering enthusiasm and downright elation by pretty much every person on the planet.
Being a parent on holiday can be a bit challenging. Entertaining slightly older kids is simpler – there are plenty of ‘child-friendly’ activities to be found. For a preschooler however, finding the appropriate activity as per their skill level and interest is trickier. In toddlerland, even a span of 30 minutes can trigger the dreaded ‘b’ word–boredom!
Which is why, for parents with very young children, I recommend coming up with a curated holiday.
What is a ‘Curated Holiday’?
Specially designed by the people who know them best, these holiday ‘packages’ are customised, by you, for your child.
- Your kid loves walks? Add in some ‘garden time’ to their daily schedule.
- They love books? Reward them with special visits to the library once a week and stock up on all their favourite stories.
- They can’t stay away from food? I recommend some kitchen time. Get them washing, putting away and even chopping (with kid-safe utensils). Bonus, you get a tiny, slightly messy helper when required!
Amidst all this playing, remember to slip in some learning time too.
I know, I know. Learning during the holidays is far from fun for them. The whole point is to get away from studies. Some might even feel like holidays are a time to reboot their kids brains, get them nice and empty, so it is much easier to fill with knowledge when they get back to preschool/kindergarten.
Again, this statement rings true for older children, but not the case for a young learner.
Why I’m loving Holiday Learning
An early learner, in preschool and kindergarten, is taught essential life skills–ABCs, differentiating left from right, tracing, and more, which serve as a foundation for their future education, as well as the rest of their lives. Without regular practice, they could end up having to relearn the basics, rather than simply revise them.
Mark J. Griffin, PhD., recommends not hitting the ‘pause’ button on essential skills like math or writing during the holidays. In his opinion, doing so can actually completely erode the progress a child has made. He views certain kinds of learning in a ‘use it or lose it’ manner, especially for kids with attention issues. Besides, he says, going back to school with a head that is already full of knowledge will instil an air of self-assurance and confidence in your child.
Luckily, there are a lot of ways to engage a young learner and subtly teach them during their vacation.
Putting The “Fun” in Learning
- Practice writing and tracing skills with hand painting games. You can find plenty of game suggestions and resources online. You can escape the mess by setting up a play area outdoors. Or, if you lack space, lay out an old bedsheet inside and put a throwaway rag/sheet on the furniture and floors.)
- Encourage your kids to tell you about their day, the games they played, the movies they saw, to improve their speaking, pronunciation and vocabulary. You greatly increase their confidence while speaking, while also spending time with them. Win-win!
- To improve their phonics learning and teach them the sound of letters, invent a funny song or ditty. For example, to teach them the English alphabet, you can go:
Ey, ah, aaa; ey, ah, aah; ey for an ‘A’,
Bee, bee, buh; bee, bee, buh; bee for a ‘B’,
and so on, to a catchy tune. Go ahead and take inspiration from the latest hit songs, like ‘Jolly Songs A-Z Alphabet Song’
- Get them reading with books and television. Television is a radical option for those who don’t want/like to read books. You can make kids read subtitles on the screen, and that way, inculcate a reading habit.
So, are you ready to take a holiday with your tiny tots?
Have any cool thoughts for holiday learning? Share them in the comments section below!
About our Guest author
Sanjana Shukla is never more comfortable and at peace with the world than when she has a book in her hands. She credits her work as a content writer at Square Panda India for teaching her about early education, multisensory learning, and everything in between.