From experience what works best for me over the school summer holidays is to have a plan of action. I’ve come to find, that if we have a rough theme for each week and then plan it out with activities related to it, not only is it easier to plan the days but the children actually have a really great learning experience.
This year I have a whole series of activities plan, some related to the exploration theme which my friends are also doing and some related to the children (and my) interest in Natural History. I’ve tried to create a mixture of museum visiting, making the most of the good old outdoors and craft activities at home. However, all kids need a bit of down time and its important I think to let them rest and recover from their year at school. That’s where you can be a bit crafty!
We are lucky enough to be part of the Netflix #Streamteam which means that we have Netflix available for the kids and its a brilliant source of fun and entertaining films and programmes. However, it also has loads and loads of fantastic educational content, including these amazing BBC Natural History series:
We have been working our way through Walking with Dinosaurs and have combined this with a trip to the amazing Sedgwick Museum in Cambridge and of course, fossil hunting at every opportunity. I’ve started devising a plan for making our own plaster cast fossils which I will shortly share, once we have experimented. Suffice to say, this is not only an entertaining programme which the children will happily watch but they now know nearly as many dinosaur facts as me!
The Blue Planet ties in really nicely with our Exploring theme as it allows me to expand upon some of the themes we will be looking at. For example, The Frozen Seas episode deals with the Arctic and Antarctic in terms of wildlife and the effect that this has on the locality. It ties in nicely with looking at some of the amazing expeditions people have undertaken both historically and in the present day. We will also go to the Archaeology and Anthropology Museum and the Polar Exploration Museum in Cambridge to really bring all these elements together. In terms of crafts I thought making penguins would be fun and for the older children we would do a little bit of soap carving which I loved doing when I was little.
There are loads of other programmes with different themes to utilise in your summer activities and, of course when the kids go to bed you can catch up on some brilliant drama yourself. I can’t stress how useful Netflix is, I cant imagine not having it now!
If my ideas don’t fire your imagination Netflix have teamed up with Kelly Ladd Sanchez to create some Story Starters. These are a BRILLIANT idea, basically you can use them to spark the kids imagination into creating their own stories. They are perfect for the car but would also make a brilliant addition for those of you (like me) trying to get their kids to write more to improve their literacy.
With a bit of careful thought and a great on demand service like Netflix you can really make the most of your kids down time and turn it into a worthwhile learning experience. I’d love to hear your comments about what you might be doing and what inspiration you have drawn from various programmes and films for activities.
Disclaimer: I’m part of the Netflix Streamteam which is a brand ambassador programme. I genuinely love the service and use it daily, these are activities we are doing this summer.