This week we will be focusing on activity and learning ideas for our school aged children.
Whilst most children will have been set formal learning and school work from their school to be working on whilst their schools are closed, we felt it was important to provide some ideas for fun, play-based experiences that children can enjoy and learn from at home too. (Half of the time they won’t even realise they are learning!)
Our after school and holiday children love making potions; both indoors and outdoors! And you don’t really have to do anything apart from allow them to use substances and ingredients from your cupboards to mix together and create the most gruesome potions they can muster! Provide, liquids, powders, bottles, spoons, jugs and let them do the rest!
We’ve found that children of this wider age range adore anything science related and so hosting experiments and investigations are great ways to keep them busy whilst also encouraging them to hypothesis and think more critically about reactions and the how and why!
Some of our favourite experiments include the ‘Make Your Own Rainbow’ Skittles (Click here) experiment and the ‘Apple Volcano’ (Click here.) We have also tried and failed on many occasions to make slime! But whether you get it right or not, this is a great way of keeping them busy and challenging them to combine and measure to create something gross!
Children love to be hands on and inspect and investigate how things work and so if you have any broken ICT or digital equipment laying around that you can’t use but can’t get rid of either at the moment; give the children some tools and task them with taking apart the equipment and seeing if they can figure out what went wrong – this will keep them busy for ages as they begin to expose and dissect all of the different components and investigate how it all works together.
Again, hands on, practical activities never cease to capture children’s interest and so merely providing off cuts of wood or tree stumps alongside some tools allows children to take risks, whilst also challenging their understanding of safety as well as their creativity. You know your children best, so provide as much or as little support with this as you deem necessary.
Older children still need opportunities to be physical and burn off some energy (that doesn’t involve wrestling their siblings!) And so we’ve found that channelling this need for physical exercise and teaming it with maths and high focus tasks such as target practice, combine beautifully. Some of our favourite target practice activities include; Nerf guns and chalk board targets, chalk floor targets and bean bags and nerf guns and tin cans. Add numbers and point based incentives to add a little extra focus and challenge!
As we’ve mentioned before, children of this age love anything scientific and activities they can problem solve and think critically at and so shadow play or experimenting with light and dark, is a quick, easy and accessible activity that can capture children’s attention and imagination for extended periods of time; children could make wooden spoon puppets to perform in their shadow light show, use dinosaurs or animal figures they already possess or simply explore with shapes and shadows.
Our school-aged children love Top Trumps and card games and Top Trumps are a great way to get children playing co-operatively and also to challenge their maths skills too. If you don’t have any Top Trump cards, children could even make their own based upon their own interests.
We have also found that Hamma Beads are a wonderful resource and really capture children’s concentration and creativity and provide hours of entertainment.
A game that Bridgit has taught all of our children to play, and really engages the older children is Petanque – this is a great game that requires focus and precise physical skill and the children love it! If you don’t have a set at home, children could always create their own game using various sized balls – our children can play this for hours; keeping scores and creating their own tournaments.
We have found that children of this age group thrive on being independent and being given responsibility and so we often provide them with opportunities to create their own meals and dishes wherever possible – encouraging them to gather ingredients, follow a recipe and then complete the process independently (where developmentally appropriate!)For those with siblings, a bake off is also a great way to not only keep them busy and set a challenge, but every bake-off needs a judge to taste the offerings – a win/win scenario!
We hope you have found this guide useful, and if we can offer any further advice or support then please get in contact.