Summer is here! I’m sure you’re busy planning all sorts of rest and relaxation, as well as a few adventures.. and well deserved, too.

This is such a great time to let the kids loose in the great outdoors, and to get them involved in imaginative play and activities. They need a real break from formal learning, just like we do. So what kinds of activities will keep them growing and learning while they play?

Reading is one of the best ways to keep up their vocabulary and avoid any falling away of their term-time learning. Choose adventure books or interesting stories and use them as a base for further activities during the day – dramatic play, art or imaginative games.

Make sure there is outside play – put up a tent, sleep on the trampoline, have a campout. Nothing gets the calm and the creative going like nature. Even if you got for a hike and have a picnic in the back of the car – whatever works for your family is perfect.

Puzzles are a great way to hone logical thinking, pattern matching and hand-eye coordination. Encourage kids to feel comfortable coming back to a puzzle when they feel like it – and by removing the ‘get it done’ pressure, it becomes a calming and intentionally slow activity.

Family-building fun nights. Make room for at least one fun themed night over the holiday break. Have a green night where everyone dresses in green and eats only green foods, or an international food night – choose a country, decorate with crafted flags and eat national foods. Silly nights like this are so great for building family bonds and connection, not to mention some fun memories and a few silly photos!

Road trip! Head out in the car – even if you have no destination (even better if you have no destination!) and go where the wind takes you. Give the kids turns at choosing a direction or road to take. Stop along the way when you see a park, a café, a thing to do. Explore, get lost, have fun.

A more modern but super-fun way to have fun together is by playing Escape Room games – google up ‘Free Digital Escape Rooms’ and find one that suits you to play together. These can be so fun to work through if your kids love puzzles and logic games.

Try one new thing together! Choose something that you have never done and try it out. This could be as simple as eating a kind of food you’ve never had or trying to bake something you’ve never tried before (have you ever made a Lemon Meringue Pie?). Or trying out a different style of art or craft – making earrings, or leather items, or felted items. Or a new sport or adventure activity – go hang gliding or try out rock climbing. Doesn’t matter what it is – it’s the doing something new together that bonds you.

Get into the water! Go swimming, boating, float down the river on a tube – just get into the water however you can. Being in the water is a relaxant and Summer is the time to make the most of the warm days outside!

Have lazy days. Days where nobody gets out of their pjs until at least 11am. Days where nothing is planned and there is nowhere to go. Our brains are busy, busy all year long, and days like these feed the soul and calm our spirits. Read books. Colour in. Watch a movie. Make cheese toasties, have cereal for dinner, (or pancakes) and enjoy drinks with loads of ice. Ahhh. I can feel that Summer spirit already.

I’m sure you have plenty of ideas for the days ahead, and I hope Summer is a wonderfully relaxing and peaceful time for you this year. All the best 😊

Anna from Tea4Teacher xx

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