In this Mentor Education blog, we explore some of the best ways to keep young minds active over the vacation.
Reading is one of the most effective – and enjoyable – ways to boost cognitive function, but it’s easy for this to slip over summer. Indeed, there’s a whole phenomenon known as the ‘summer slide’: the name given to the decline in reading and other key skills that often occurs over the break, and which causes teachers (and tutors!) to panic come autumn, because there’s lots of lost ground to make up. Incorporating a little bit of reading into your daily routine can prevent this from happening, ensuring that your child doesn’t have to work extra hard when school resumes in September. Here are some easy ways to make reading a fun, frequent activity:
Whether it’s learning chess or trying out a magic trick, self-studying can be a wonderful way to get the synapses firing. Does your child fancy themselves to be the next Gordon Ramsay? Why not learn to cook together, and practise reading and measuring skills whilst preparing ingredients; alternatively, you could suggest that your child might like to watch informative videos on YouTube or read a detailed ‘how-to’ guide in order to get started with their chosen hobby.
Prise your budding student away from their screen and get them out into the great outdoors during the summer months. Live-action ‘treasure hunts’ are a fantastic, stimulating activity for the whole family to enjoy (for more info, check out our earlier blog post featuring geocaching), as is a bit of bird spotting (not that you have to stop with birds: why not go on a hunt for squirrels, frogs or bugs?). Pick up a local area guide and see how many different types of flora and fauna you can find. As a team, you can brush up on your map-reading skills whilst increasing your scientific and geographical knowledge.
Again, this might seem like a bit of a cheat – but watching a film together can be a great exercise. Not only can a spot of telly time represent a bonding activity for your loved ones, but also it can be valuable way to introduce new concepts and information to the students in your family. Source material is important – in an ideal world, it’d be better to choose an acclaimed documentary over the latest rom com – but it’s not essential. Even a blockbuster can still offer a good learning opportunity if you take the time to unpick the film together afterwards. So settle down on the sofa, grab some popcorn, and enjoy: and afterwards, have a good chat with your child (or children) about their thoughts, feelings and impressions of the film, what the key themes were, and anything else they may have learned.