After weeks of school at home earlier this year, some parents have spoken to me of their dread of having the kids at home again over the summer holiday. Covid restrictions are still impacting what we can do, especially on rainy days. But there is a saying – there is no such thing as bad weather when you’re wearing the right clothes.
Thankfully, we now have lots of playgrounds all over the country. Play is work for kids! They learn so much while playing and playgrounds are fantastic places for them to develop their gross motor, and social skills. Why not arrange covid friendly playdates there and get together with other parents & their kids? Make it a weekly event, something to look forward to.
I love cycling, but it can be difficult with younger children. The main roads are just too dangerous for them and even in places where there are cycle lanes, I really wouldn’t advise it. So where to then? Well over the past few years several dedicated cycling trails have been developed right around the country including our newly resurfaced Greenway in West Limerick. Check out Irish Trails or Cycling Ireland for more details. Bring the bikes to some of the national parks. It’s a fantastic, safe, child-friendly way to see the animals and scenery.
This is a great holiday rainy day idea. If they are going to be plonked in front of the computer, get them to learn computer code. There are great tutorials on Khan Academy or download Scratch for younger kids. Maybe they’ll make millions before they go back to school $$££€€
What is it about eating outdoors? Get the kids involved in the planning and making of the picnic – they are far more likely to eat it if they made it. Go all out, make it special. Make it so amazing that they will tell their grandchildren about the amazing picnics you used to take them on when they were kids.
Another great rainy day activity. Everyone needs to learn how to prepare and cook meals. The kids can study recipes, write out the list of ingredients, go shopping and pay for them and then (under close supervision) make the dinner. They don’t need to know that they are also reading, writing and doing maths at the same time.
I know it’s a bit old school but now that they have re-opened take the kids to the library. Keep them reading by allowing them to take out whatever book they like. Some books like sports autobiographies may be in the adult section so you may need to take those out for them. Use your judgement to make sure it is appropriate reading. If you’re going on holiday, take out a travel book and get the kids involved in planning the trip. Irish libraries can now lend digital books! Check out Borrow Box & they (and you) can read their library book from their phone or kindle while enjoying the sunshine.
We used to do this all the time as kids. Lidl & Aldi, Argos or your local army surplus store are great for cheap tents. Bring out the duvet and pillows and loads of food for the Midnight Feast and they’re all set for a holiday adventure.
One for the mums – get your teenagers to learn how to do this – Youtube is brilliant. and once they are ‘trained,’ let them loose on yourself. They could even earn some holiday pocket money doing it for others.
I know it’s difficult to prise the kids away from the game consoles but playing games like monopoly and Uno are great fun and there is also a learning aspect to them. It’s something to do when camping in the back garden!
Lockdown has led to a huge interest in all year sea swimming, so find out what the buzz is. In Ireland rain is never too far away. I always think that swimming in the rain is a sensational thing to do! Load up the car and head to the beach in the rain. The water always feels warmer and the kids will love doing something different.
If there is a fruit farm within driving distance of you, find out if you can pick your own fruit. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the fruit and the farm & also to get them eating it. Fine motor skills are enhanced too.
Elaine Sparling is the CEO of the award-winning Hummingbird Learning Centre®. Based in Adare, Co Limerick and nationwide online, she works with clients on a one to one basis and can be contacted on 087-2996054 or through their website www.hummingbirdlearning.com. In addition to their core 10 session programs, they also have a 4 session one to one Study Skills Program called Study Success for second and third-level students. Call now for more information