So school is out for two weeks, and most of the kids around Australia are excitedly bouncing getting ready for all the ‘awesome stuff they are going to do’ over the school holidays. Parents nod along in excitement, although they have a number of thoughts rolling around like “When am I going to find time to take you to all these places?”, “How much is it going to cost?”, and “Ten bucks says they spend the majority of their holidays on the Xbox”.
While spending all day everyday on their phone or IPad is not the best idea, some screen or game time could be a good thing. It’s important for kids to actually switch off and have a break over the school holidays. Spontaneous play is vital for children’s development, and it’s something that they don’t get to do a lot of in the classroom. Although, rather than screen time all the time, encourage kids to go outside and explore something in the backyard, or use the imagination to build a castle or a car out of Lego blocks. I spent some time last week building Lego with a student who was feeling a bit stressed and tired of school. It was amazing how Lego managed to calm the student down, and channeled all of their energy and focus into the task of building a ‘dream house’. The Lego activity took us on a different path, in which we talked about the rooms, furniture and layout of a house.
Anything that involves children exploring and independently learning is a positive thing – especially when the child is the one who is setting the path. Sometimes these instances are when children learn the most, simply because of their level of engagement and enjoyment (as they are actually learning about what THEY want to learn). So, let the kids take a break over the holidays and ask them what they are interested in. Once they have given you some ideas (and let’s face it, there will be a MILLION things they are ‘interested’ in), make it a mission in your family to learn something new about these areas of interest!
Weekend Notes put together a great list of school holiday activities in Melbourne over spring – and there is some really cool stuff going on. Everything from Art and Craft, Lego, Minecraft , Disney Princesses and Mermaids. There’s also a FREE School Holiday Junior Ranger Program here on the Mornington Peninsula. Worth a look!
Lauren is the owner of MPT, a primary school teacher, tutor and Mum to a nearly 2 year old son.