We are in the middle of a Summer Heatwave! What is seldom seen is wonderful, but even the best sunshine since I was a kid won’t keep away the two most dreaded words of the Summer holidays – I’m bored! But never fear, here are some ways to keep the kids occupied over the school break. Learning doesn’t have to be prescribed or from a book. We learn from different experiences. Just remember to lash on the sunscreen!
I absolutely 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. Check out Irish Trails or Cycling Ireland for more details. Bring the bikes to some of the national parks. It’s a fantastic way to see the animals and scenery and safe for kids to cycle in.
Parks & Playgrounds
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 play dates there or a get together with other parents & their kids? Make it a weekly event, something to look forward to.
When I was a kid, during the Summer we had Irish picnics – sandwiches and tea in the car while looking out at the rain from the beach carpark! And they were great!! 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.
Learn to Code
This is a great rainy day one. If they are going to be plonked in front of the computer, get them writing 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 $$££€€
Keep them Reading
I know it’s a bit old school but 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 away on holidays, 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.
Camp in the back garden
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 an adventure.
Manicure & Pedicures
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 pocket money doing it for others.
Board Games & Card Games
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!
Swimming in the Rain
Ok, I know that mentioning rain in the middle of our heatwave is wrong, but this is Summer 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 for the Irish Picnic and head to the beach in the rain. The water always feels warmer and the kids will love doing something different.
Go to the theatre
Instead of taking the kids to the movies, take them to see a play. You’ll be amazed how engaged they will be with it. One thing though, pick an appropriate one, you might want to leave ‘Waiting for Godot’ until they are older.
Check out the Local Festivals
There are hundreds of them up and down the country, go experience what is on offer. There are food ones, music ones, art ones, even scarecrow ones! You name it somewhere there is probably a Summer festival celebrating it somewhere.
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 Tralee, Co Kerry, 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