The corridors reverberated with the excited voices of the students spilling out of the classrooms. Every one of them was excited and all had something to say; now, who was listening I don’t know. I didn’t see anyone pondering over the question paper to check how many questions they got right or was something left out. It brought back memories of our school days. God, do I miss them! They may not agree now but the school years are the best time in a person’s life, and we realise this only when we have passed out of school and trudging through our dreary lives, carrying the load of responsibilities and expectations.
Back to the present day, all the kids were discussing their plans for the summer vacations. Holidays, vacations, play dates, summer classes, and their list were endless. To make the best of the two months at hand, with no studies to distract most of the kids, it’s a great time to develop the other ignored skills, especially now since the last two summer vacations were spent locked up inside.
Parents must realise that education happens even outside the classrooms. The child learns so much about the world beyond their family and discovers parts of his or her personality which have otherwise been ignored. Therefore parents should, and must, encourage the children to explore new activities during the summer vacations instead of letting them waste their time in front of the idiot box or on their mobile. I have listed out 10 activities to happily engage children for the summertime.
1. Theatre workshops – These workshops are as creative as they are engaging and educating. Basic acting and oratory skills, personality development, speech delivery and many such activities for children are conducted to develop their confidence through fun activities. Children get to express themselves and enjoy the chance to play-act. The highlight of such workshops is when at the end of the courses the students showcase their talent.
2. Calligraphy – The two years at home have for certain had a negative impact on the writing skills of the students. Instead of asking them to practice handwriting, enrol them for calligraphy classes. It’s a lot more interesting way to develop their motor skills – both gross and fine – and it allows them creative freedom. It’s a skill which not only will improve handwriting but will also create awareness about developing good quality work which will become their prized skill, their pride and joy.
3. Storytelling or literary clubs – If there’s something I have experienced in my years as a teacher it’s that no one says no to storytime! Children love to listen to stories. One can see them transported into another world as they hang on to each word with wide-eyed wonder. The side-effects are they want to read more stories so they get a chance to narrate, and who would say no to that! So, parents, instead of telling them to read more, just send them for some summer activities like these and watch the budding storyteller at your house whip up the magic. Added incentive – their reading skills will improve and that in turn will help them at school.
4. Sports activities – Yes, we have many cricketers and footballers training hard for their time to shine. But there are other sports activities for children that can be experimented with like swimming, skating, basketball, volleyball, squash, lawn tennis or even table tennis (a fine sport needing both strength and grace). I heard one of my kids say he wanted to try horse riding. Why not? Until and unless they are not allowed to try, they will never know what they enjoy. Sports like chess and abacus are hot favourites and deservingly so. It teaches our little restless minds to focus and concentrate and builds up their cognitive skills.
5. Language learning – Often ignored as it doesn’t look interesting but learning a language should be a must summer activity. There’s no dearth of apps and videos or other resources available to learn any language of your choosing. It could be the hot international favourites like Korean (thanks to BTS), Mandarin, Japanese, French, Italian, German or Spanish. Or one could even try learning their own mother tongue – not just speaking but also reading and writing. And believe me, it’s quite ’cool’ to know your mother tongue.
6. Art camps – If someone says art is easy and anyone can do it, I will say try it out before you say anything. Art is an expression of our innermost thoughts, our passive personality. Art allows the child to express itself in the most creative manner. Through summer activities, try acquiring a new skill like maybe charcoal or pencil sketching, oil painting, finger painting or knife painting. As per the age group, the child can be enrolled for such creative classes without expecting him or her to be the next Picasso or Anjolie Ela Menon!
7. Astronomy camps – Let’s not restrict the summer activities to the daytime only. With the clear summer skies, what better way to learn about our celestial neighbours. And it’s not just restricted to learning the names and positions of the stars. Visits to the planetarium, learning about the history and stories about the brave navigators of yore who used the stars to chart their way across the seas, and learning to plot on the maps could all be a part of the quest for knowledge. A great way to improve their general knowledge while also exploring something new. There’s a universe waiting to be discovered (no pun intended)!
8. Robotics and coding classes – For the more scientifically oriented, there are the current favourites which are not only interesting but also challenging. Robotics and coding are also appealing to our technophile kids. These subjects may be introduced as part of the school curriculums soon so it’s a good time as any to start off with summer activities and workshops about them.
9. Camping – Wouldn’t it be adventurous to spend a night or two in a tent under the sky watching the stars, making a bonfire and singing camp songs or playing silly games, learning to cook, going for a trek or waking up early to watch the sunrise? Being outdoors will help the kids to connect with nature and understand the importance of taking care of it. Total win-win summer activity for our young outdoor enthusiasts!
10. Craft activities – They may look like ‘girly’ activities in a stereotypical way but ever since Tom Daley, the British Olympic Gold medallist was pictured unwinding with his knitting, it has gained international fame. Children should be encouraged to learn arts like quilling, weaving, basket making, pottery, sewing, flower decoration, baking, card making, and many such refreshing and engaging summer activities. It’s not just to keep them busy but also to develop some life skills. the unseen take-away is that these activities teach them to concentrate and focus.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started. Do let me know if you have any more ideas about some exciting new activities which the kids can enrol in and enjoy themselves. Happy summer vacations!
Disclaimer: This page may contain some affiliate links and I will get a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use the links to make a purchase.