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Monday, June 24, 2024

Tips for making summer vacation memorable for kids

The long-awaited vacation season is here! Parents, guardians and caregivers find themselves searching for ways to keep children entertained and engaged throughout the extended break.

It is a time when school bells fade into distant memories, and children step into a world filled with endless possibilities.

This season provides children with a taste of freedom they yearn for all year. It’s a time to unleash their imagination, creativity, and unique talents as they are free of, or less burdened with academic work.

Remember, children are easily bored when they are not engaged while on holidays. At the same time, it can be frustrating for parents when they do not know how to keep their children entertained.

A Counsellor and Child Protection Advocate, Yemi Dabiri, once said that there is danger when children are not engaged during school holiday because they can fall into the wrong hands or follow bad company.

To avoid the potential dangers, she advised parents/guardians to arrange fun and enjoyable activities to keep their children busy until they get back to school.

She also stressed the need for parents to participate in the activities, as they can turn out to be teaching moments for their children.

As published by LagosMums, (a parenting and family life resource for mums, parents, caregivers and their families), there are many ways to spend the summer and to keep the children occupied without it being academic.

Here are a few strategies to make every moment of this summer count for your children:

Children at a summer camp

Summer camps: It’s been proven that summer schools helps children to be better prepared for the next school season. There are various types of summer camps focusing on different activities such as school work, revision, robotics, swimming, arts, craft, cooking, tailoring etc. where children can be enrolled.

Children reading at a summer camp

Reading books: Reading not only sparks imagination but also enhances language skills and cognitive development. Summer holiday is a good time to encourage children to brush up on their reading and expand their knowledge.

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A leadership and peak performance expert, Dr. Elvis Ukpaka said young people must see reading as a mental exercise just like bodily exercise; noting that reading is to the brain, what food is to the body. Children can be encouraged to set aside dedicated reading time each day while parents/guardian can take them to visit local libraries or create a reading corner at home to foster a love for books.

Children engaged in creative arts and crafts at summer camp

Engage in creative arts and crafts: You can unleash the artist within by encouraging children to express themselves through various art forms. You can also set up a craft station stocked with materials for painting, clay pottery, beadwork, drawing, sculpting, or collage making. You can also organize family art sessions or enrol children in local art classes to learn new techniques and develop their creative skills.

Family outing at the beach

Plan travels/family outings: Travelling can be a learning experience for children at this time instead of sitting at home to watch television all day.

Also, family outings to parks, museums, zoo, beaches, or hiking trails etc. can be fun while they can also engage in activities like scavenger hunts, nature walks, or birdwatching etc. to promote physical activity, enhance curiosity, and foster a deeper appreciation for the environment.

Kids testing their baking skills

Cultivate culinary skills: Cooking and baking can be both educational and entertaining for children. Children can be involved in meal planning, grocery shopping, and preparing simple recipes. You can teach kitchen safety, and witness the joy of creating delicious treats together with the kids during the summer.

Holiday project: Since all children have skills and interests, which might not be appropriately explored during the school year, so, summer could be a good time to pick a project based on their interests and make them complete them by an agreed time. For instance, a child who likes to write can be encouraged to write a play, short stories etc.

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Internships: Summer is a good time to get some work experience depending on the age and class of your child. They could volunteer and spend few hours a day in an office to enable them pick up necessary work experience skills.

Children playing traditional games. Image credit: Loop

Promote traditional games: During summer vacation, parents and caregivers can teach children games like Ayo, Ludo, or Abula. Also, family game nights or community tournaments can be organised to foster friendly competition and strengthen family bonds.

Summer vacation presents a prime opportunity for children to explore new horizons, develop skills, and make lasting memories. By incorporating a mix of activities that encompass reading, outdoor adventures, creative arts, culinary experiences, and physical fitness among others; parents and caregivers can create a fulfilling and enriching break for children of all ages.

Christiana Alabi-Akande
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