School holidays are a time to be enjoyed, offering children a respite from the school routine and a chance for families to spend some special time together. But it can be a stressful time for parents, anxious to ensure that their child’s time is well spent but fun too! Fear not, there are plenty of wonderful activities you can enjoy as a family, which will widen your child’s awareness and reinforce many of the skills they have learnt at school.
Lost for ideas this school holiday? What can you do with your children that are fun and educational at home and outside? Fiona Walker, Principal Of Schools and CEO of Julia Gabriel Education shares with us 10 ideas on what you can do.
- Plan a bug watch. Take a magnifying glass and set off to the nearest park in search of bugs. How do they move? Do they live in groups or alone? How many legs do they have? Talk about and draw what you saw when you get back home.
- Discover the geography of Singapore. Take a ferry boat between quays or walk along the river looking at the buildings. Which building is the tallest? Which building do you think is the oldest? Explore the rich flora and fauna in the island’s nature reserves, such as Bukit Timah, or the mangrove swamps at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Ride the cable car across to Sentosa or take a bumboat to Pulau Ubin and hire bicycles to explore kampong Singapore. Imagine what mainland Singapore looked like before there were cars, office blocks and condominiums. Draw a picture of old Singapore.
- Create a weekly weather chart. Talk about the weather and record whether it was sunny, cloudy or rainy. If possible, catch the rain in a measuring cup and record that too. If it is cloudy, can see shapes in the clouds, for example, Mickey Mouse’s ears or a baby?
- Learn something new with your child. This could be rollerblading or even riding a bike. This is a fun activity the whole family can get involved in. Renting rollerblades or bikes is easy at the East Coast so make a day of it and finish with a picnic on the beach.
- Keep a journal / scrapbook. Save all mementos (entrance tickets, photos, receipts, leaflets etc) from your outings. Stick these into the journal along with a written of record your child’s experiences.
- Plan a family meal. Go through some simple recipes and create a dinner menu together, preparing a shopping list of all the ingredients. Give your child the responsibility of buying the items and talk about how much it cost. Let your child help with cooking that particular meal.
- Create a family tree. Start with your child and work backwards. Use old photographs (or photocopy them if you don’t want to cut up the originals) and stick them on the family tree. How far back can you go?
- Make a book. Gather paper, colouring pencils and a stapler. Make up your story together then write it down, a line or two a page while your child illustrates it. Your little author can then proudly ‘read’ their book to friends and family.
- Join a holiday programme. Take all the stress out of planning daily activities by participating in a quality holiday programme together. Enjoy seeing your child socialise with new people, make new friends and building confidence as they have fun in a new environment.
- Create ‘family’ art. Make your family the topic for creating unique portrait placemats. Talk about who lives in your house and who is related to whom. Stick a photo on a piece of coloured paper, decorate around the edges and finally laminate it or wrap in clear sticky paper.
Fiona Walker and her two children. Photo courtesy of Fiona Walker
Use the school holidays to explore the wonderful museums, rich cultural heritage and nature of Singapore. Take the opportunity to spend more time together exploring as a family or enjoy some quiet relaxed activities at home creating keepsakes. Whatever you choose to do, you will all benefit from these special bonding experiences before the new school term begins.
This article was first published in The New Age Parents online magazine.
By Fiona Walker, Principal Of Schools / CEO, Julia Gabriel Education
Fiona Walker joined Julia Gabriel Centre in 1991 as a teacher and is now the Principal of Schools / CEO of Julia Gabriel Education. She holds a Masters in Early Childhood Education and is a qualified Montessori teacher with more than 20 years of experience in providing quality education for young children. She is committed to the ongoing development of teachers and curriculum in Julia Gabriel Education.
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