Woo Hoo! School is nearly out for summer!

Ideally, Summers holidays should be all about lazy afternoons in the garden, dripping ice creams and fun in the sun but these long summer days have also been proven to erode up to 2 months of learning if children are entirely left to their own devices.

Although we are SO not those parents who are going to insist on hours of daily homework or Kumon Bootcamp it would be a silly shame if we let their pretty little heads completely empty of any required knowledge. As Sukhi Nijjar, a top Berkshire tutor explains ” The dreaded Summer slide is a real problem so parents need to be creative and think outside the box to ensure their learning is maintained or ideally built upon.”

Luckily, Miss Manners is here with her ideas to keep kids on their intellectual toes. Apparently, the trick is to not tell them they are learning (its sneaky but we like it.) so that they return to school confident and ready to roll.

If you are in the Berkshire area you can contact Tutor Sukhi Nijjar on sukhi.nijjar@hotmail.com.

1. Keep them Reading

It’s a fact. Reading makes you more intelligent so it doesn’t matter what children read (well to a point -some things are obviously off limits) as long as they continue reading over the summer. If they are avid readers then Miss Manners suggests visiting the local library or charity shop and stocking up. Many local libraries even offer a summer reading list for kids. If they are not natural readers then she suggests buying them their favourite magazines or listening to audio books to expand their vocabulary and story telling skills.

You could even incentive them by buying this wonderful 100 Kids Books Scratch Off Poster and see how many they can read over the summer.

2. Add it Up

Let school age kids be in charge of their own spending whether their own pocket money or for those slightly older, managing the budget for activities and treats for the week. Learning to allocate and VALUE money is a vital skill. Getting them to count change and tot up amounts will keep their brains ticking over. You can also make them in charge of time-keeping to prevent the whiny “are we nearly there yet’ and ‘what time are they coming’ refrain.

3. Get them to Write a Summer Diary

Writing a diary is of the little and often mentality. A couple of sentences a day is enough where they can record what they get up to, who they are meeting and what they think. It will also encourage children to develop their vocabulary and spelling and learn to articulate their thoughts. One day it will also make a hilarious momento of their summer.

4. Volunteer

To counteract any ‘I’m bored’ moaning – it’s a good idea to have a few back up plans. Get your child to volunteer to help an elderly neighbour with their garden or their shopping, give them a list of your own chores or sign them up for a local charity to help out. All these things will help children learn to follow directions and have been proven to offer a boost to well being and happiness.

5. Get Creative

Get your kids to use their creativity to try to make things WITHOUT supervision (Go and have a G & T). Go to Hobbycraft, stock up on the creative stuff and then leave them to be unleash their creative skills. Let them loose (outside) with slime, papermache, mud and paint. You may have a mess afterwards but you will have very happy kids.

6. Family Games Night

This is a tripe whammy. Family time + education + fun. Whoever knew summer school could be this much fun? Dig out the board games, pop the popcorn and set an evening in week in stone. Counting, reading, taking turns – all of these things can be taught with a few board games as well as a healthy dose of competition. (NO, Miss Manners says, NEVER let your kids win on purpose.)

7. Create Little Entrepreneurs

Create mini entrepreneurs buy encouraging your kids to make something and then Sell it. They could set up a stand with home-made lemonade and cupcakes to sell to neighbours and friends. Obviously they get to keep the proceeds but just watch they don’t snaffle all the goodies instead.

 8. Get them Gardening

Summer is a prefect time to get your kids interested in gardening. Get them to design, plant and harvest a veggie garden or create a fairy garden or a butterfly  and bird feeder.

9. Teach them to cook

Now this is the gift that keeps on giving. The result is not only kids who can not only fend for themselves (woo hoo!) but can even knock up something delicious for the family. Learning to cook, even a pretty basic recipe requires both reading and maths skills. Teach them to knock up some cupcakes or scones on their own getting them to measure all their ingredients and follow instructions. The cupcakes are a bonus.

10. S.O.S. Send them on  a course.

If you’re really at your wits end then get outside help. Send them on a course for a few days to learn a new skill, sailing, tennis, cooking, adventuring, anything if it means you can have a break and they can learn.

Check out our Cherry Picked Shop for some great ideas to keep the kids at ‘secret Summer School’.

Have a great summer!