Need ideas for fun things to do on school holidays?
Do you want to bond with your children and let your own inner child come out and play?
Today English Teacher Online lists some fun things to do on school holidays that help children become fluent in English too!
Plan Fun Things To Do On School Holidays
It’s time to do some planning for the school holidays. Let’s help and prepare you with a box of tricks to keep your children busy and productive.
Start by planning each week in advance. If children know they have things to look forward to it will help keep them focused, happy and relaxed.
Try to get children involved in the planning. Kids are less likely to complain about their daily activities if they have helped choose them.
You won’t need to plan something for every day but you will need a range of activities to select from. The 3 natural categories for fun things to do on school holidays are;
1. In The Garden
2. Travel Days Out
3. Indoors At Home
Have a few fun things to do on school holidays planned for each of the 3 categories.
1. In The Garden
Gardens are an amazing resource (if you have one) so get the kids outside quickly while the weather is good. A garden is the best place to explore nature, get plenty of fresh air and play in a secure environment. Green fingers and happy minds are just two of the benefits you can expect from planning some outdoor activities this school holiday.
On the first dry day, take your child outside into the garden and find a small patch they can call their own. If you have a six-week long holiday, plant flowers, herbs, lettuce and anything else that grows quickly.
Grow the vegetables they like or start a gardening lab. This is your chance to teach your child about the satisfaction of raising something from seed.
If you start the garden early, you can use your produce to do some cooking activities later in the holiday. Gardening is a really valuable skill but being outdoors also keeps children happy and relaxed too.
Children love to build camps (indoors or outdoors) with blankets and sheets. If you have a garden you can put up a tent. Encourage them to kit it out with a bed, lighting (a torch) and some favourite books or toys. Let them take a picnic and I guarantee you won’t see them for hours.
When I was a teenager, I was allowed to build a wooden cabin at the bottom of the garden. My father and I put up 6×6 inch posts on four corners. Then we nailed planks of wood all the way around. I used an old car battery to power a light bulb. I spent hours in “my camp” reading and planning holiday adventures with friends.
This is a great activity to build confidence and survival skills. It’s an opportunity to teach children how to use the tools properly too.
A young Leonardo da Vinci found inspiration for many of his inventions by studying and sketching nature. He would label his sketches, learning by investigation and discovery. Give your child a sketchpad, pencils and let them loose in the garden. If your child shows any interest or ability in drawing, take them to your local park to sketch. Drawing is fun and can be done in so many different locations to fill up your holiday calendar.
You can make a treasure map with clues to find some treasure you have hidden somewhere. This works well in the garden, in the house or both. You can make one clue lead to another clue. Clues can be poems, riddles or just simple directions – the point is to keep the kids guessing and moving about.
The final treasure doesn’t have to be expensive or big — it could even be something you were planning to give the kids anyway or a promise to do something else on this list!
One of my favourite holiday activities was assembling an assault course in the garden. I used old pieces of wood, boxes, and garden chairs. I made ramps that could be jumped over and obstacles to go under or around. We would race the outdoor courses on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or by running.
If it was raining, mum would let us rearrange the furniture in the house. Indoor courses can be carefully restricted to crawling or not letting your feet touch the ground.
Make it more fun by timing each other around the assault course.
Picnics out in the garden work well when you are sketching or camping out there anyway. Take whatever’s in the fridge and pack sandwiches, crisps or fruit into a plastic container. Even if it’s just being eaten on a blanket in the garden your children’s minds will do the rest.
Consider taking a picnic when planning any day out. The money saved will quickly add up to fund another fun activity.
2. Travel Days Out
If you live in a small apartment or don’t have a garden, then travel days out are essential. Simply going for a walk to get fresh air and a change of scenery can work wonders on young and old minds alike. Here is our list for inexpensive fun days out.
If you are lucky enough to live close to the beach go swimming whenever possible. The sea has a calming effect on children who use lots of energy in the water. Go to a swimming pool if you don’t live close to the sea.
Plan to give children a reason for going on a nature walk. At the beach, collect shells and pebbles so that when you get home they can make a shell castle or sculpture. In a forest, ask children to find different sorts of bugs, plants or trees. Let them use the map to record the route you take.
Teach them about science on nature walks, grouping things by size, shape, colour or texture. Giving your child purpose or control means they probably won’t get bored too quickly.
Check what times your local library is open and go there regularly. In most libraries you can borrow movies, music and books. Make a day out of it and do some reading while you’re there. Reading is one of the most important skills that a parents can teach a child. Help your children to love books.
3. Indoors At Home
Spend some of your time doing things indoors at home. This is a chance for you to bond with your child and really discover what you enjoy doing together.
Create a Summer Diary
Just like planning the holiday, this is also an opportunity for the children to record their fun too. Encourage them to keep a Summer Diary or Scrapbook. Take photos of them doing the activities and have them write a short description and feeling for each.
Ask grade 1 to write a few words or a sentence. Grade 6 should be able to write a few paragraphs for each day. Diaries are a great way to keep children busy for hours and will give them something to remember the holiday by.
Baking In The Kitchen
Link the garden activity to the kitchen by planning a cooking day. Get the kids involved from the beginning and ask them what they want to make. Give them some options (based on recipes that you have ingredients for) and let them chose.
This is an opportunity for reading practice too, so ask your child to read from the recipe book. Step by step, help them to work through the instructions. Try to avoid the temptation of doing it yourself.
Make Your Own Games
Get a supply of colored cards, children’s scissors, glue and other useful stuff to make some fun games. If your child needs help reading, then making a set of Dolch sight words may be a good place to start.
If you want something less serious then games like Snakes and Ladders, Ludo or Pin the Tail on the Donkey can easily be made at home. This will help keep the kids occupied but you will probably need to help the smaller children.
Children love to express their creativity with paint. Avoid any stress and prepare the area well by covering the furniture with plastic or newspaper. Have some water on hand to clean up when you are finished.
Get large sheets of paper or card and go mad by using your hands and feet. Use brushes and colouring books if you want to be more traditional.
Who doesn’t want to be a rock star when they grow up? Find some musical instruments, like bongos, shakers or tambourines and get jamming. Making shakers is quite easy too, you just needs some rice in an old Smarties (M&Ms) tube.
Help them write their own song or rewrite an old favourite. Encourage them to sing and dance along.
Home Made Movie
Kids can use smart phones to make a movie at home. They are so clever at making clay models, and playing with figurines. Let them explore the world of cinema. Use Windows MovieMaker to edit it afterwards.
We have a movie club at school and the kids really love it. It takes hours to make a short film so you will get a little peace and quiet too!
Go to a bead shop and stock up on beads, wire and clasps. Design your own patterns and make your own jewellery. You’ll need to get appropriate bead sizes for different age groups. The children will be so proud to wear jewellery they made themselves.
Holiday time is the best time for kids to clear out their rooms and have a garage sale. You could sell some of your baking products and make lemonade too. Use the money to pay for another fun activity this holiday.
Network Play Dates
Connect with other parents who may have planned different fun things to do on school holidays. Decide when’s the best time to invite friends over to do the activities. Try to make sure everyone benefits from the skills of each parent. Remember, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts!”
Kids need some down time too so make sure you plan some days where you just chill. Let them watch movies, read books, or have an hour or two on the computer.
If you need more ideas, you may also like our Robotics page.
Tell us what you think of our ideas by writing in the comments section. If you need to find a teacher please let us know.