It’s the holidays - a time to unwind and have a little fun. With the challenges during lockdown, it’s a great idea to maintain engagement throughout the summer months by doing something a little different. There are of course many vital skills your child can learn at home by helping you with gardening, cooking, cleaning and organising. However, it is also an excellent opportunity to take part in fun, creative activities as a family.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity are the three most important skills a child will need to thrive. It’s hard to overstate the importance of creativity. Creative thinking is a critical skill; not only for artists or musicians, but also for kids as a way of thinking about the world. Creative exploration allows children to experiment with different concepts and creates the opportunity to discover more about themselves and others around them. Children are driven by curiosity, asking questions at every turn, experimenting and learning through play; a vital skill to encourage. Furthermore, creativity is great for emotional development which helps a child better express themselves allowing them to become more independent and confident in their actions.
To learn more about using creativity in learning and learning through play, watch the webinars delivered by AKEB available online:
Creative learning - https://youtu.be/lEnaoSvNHvo?list=PL8MStXishMbN2p8-k6h5djy-kIylbnB3g
Learning through play - https://youtu.be/5E0giXpAnKk
Whatever your plans this summer, we know that parents will be organising an enormous range of activities to help keep the family occupied. To help support you, we have put together a list of creative activities and fun challenges which engage the whole family in play and support children to grow in confidence, enhance their communication skills and develop their independence – attributes which are vital within the classroom setting as they can help develop a child’s attitude and approach to learning. You could design your own creative timetable with a range of activities which move away from laptop screens and toward the real world. The list is by no means exhaustive so take this opportunity to get as creative as possible!
Some of these activities may not be possible if COVID-19 restrictions are reinstated so treat this as a guide and readapt if necessary.
|Skill||Why it is important||Examples of Activities|
|Fine motor skills||Fine motor skills involve using small muscles in our hands, wrists, fingers, feet and toes, and require the brain to coordinate between the action and what they are seeing.
Fine motor skills are vital for doing everyday activities like buttoning up a shirt, using utensils to eat, tying shoelaces, cutting with scissors and writing.
|- Playing with a Rubix cube
- Helping with laundry using pegs
- Stacking cups
- Throwing and passing the ball
- Creating shapes out of Playdough
- Arts and crafts: using scissors, pasta necklaces, window art, tearing pictures out of a magazine and gluing
|Social and communication skills||Social skills are the skills we use to communicate and interact with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and our personal appearance.
Social and communication skills help children to build relationships, confidence, and work with others.
|- Meet with friends
- Play games and build things as a team
- Roleplay (e.g. turning the living room into a cinema and creating tickets)
- Doing a puppet show
|Independence skills||Independence skills are basic skills an individual needs to do daily to live an independent life. The process of developing independence starts in babyhood.
It is important to help your child develop:
|- Building a lego or airfix model
- Painting by number or colouring a picture
- Getting dressed by themselves
- Planning their day
- Making breakfast/ lunch
- Learn a new skill or do something new
Encourage children to see activity through to completion, and try and find the solution to the challenges on their own.
|Critical thinking and problem-solving skills||Critical thinking refers to the ability to analyse information objectively and make a reasoned judgment. It involves evaluating different pieces of information.
To learn more about developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills through STEM learning at home, watch the webinar delivered by AKEB available - https://youtu.be/vm2UylhWeEw?list=PL8MStXishMbN2p8-k6h5djy-kIylbnB3g
|- Planning the day
- Identifying similarities and differences between things
- Games such as Rummy and Scrabble
- Encouraging children to ask questions or make predictions about scenarios. For the younger ones, you can perhaps say “how can we fix this?” or “what do you think will happen next?” and give them time to think critically.
Numeracy skills are important for learning to use numbers in everyday life, and problem-solving and decision-making.
To learn more about supporting your child with numeracy skills, watch the webinar delivered by AKEB - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOkBfnuM7TI&feature=youtu.be
|- Telling the time
- Counting money
- Experimenting with volume and density during bath time
- Teaching younger children the difference between “full” and “empty” with cups and other containers.
- Sequencing patterns with pasta
- Looking at numbers around you e.g. finding all the numbers to 10 on a trip outdoors on doors, bus routes or number plates
|Listening and focusing skills||Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. It is key to all effective communication and being understood. This is really important to help children with getting used to being back at school in September.||- Following recipes independently.
- Listening to podcasts.
- Following a routine such as a bedtime routine, daily routine, family routine, chores, playing together
|Language and literacy skills||Reading is one of the key building blocks of developing strong language and literacy skills and will:
- Learn to value books and stories
Children learn to read and write through phonics. To learn about practicing phonics at home, watch the webinar delivered by AKEB - https://youtu.be/xGmqApyrOHc?list=PL8MStXishMbN2p8-k6h5djy-kIylbnB3g
|- Making a telephone using plastic cups and wires and practice phoning different places e.g. the doctor or school.
- Play games such as Taboo, where a child needs to explain a picture to you. You can even try this with old photographs. Refrain from using rhetorical questions (e.g. “We went to the beach didn’t we?”) and instead ask open ended questions such as “What can you tell me about this place?” Open-ended questions help to improve language.
- If English is your second language, speak in English at home, listen to stories in English, role-play to encourage language.
If you are concerned about your child's academic progress, you can use resources like the National Oak Academy (a government-run online school created especially for this period of time) and the BBC Bite Size website for online lessons. However, remember that children need a break during holidays despite the circumstance and all schools are aware of the situation and will adapt the curriculum to ensure all children catch up when they return to school in September.
Other websites that offer inspiration for continued learning at home and support for families include:
- Aga Khan Education Services - AKES and AKF have curated a number of suggested tips and resources to support children’s learning at home and to support individuals, families and children with the psychosocial support and wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – The Anna Freud Centre is a world-leading mental health charity for children and families and has developed and delivered pioneering mental health care for over 60 years.
- Mind Ed and Young Minds – free educational resource on children and young people's mental health.
Please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing [email protected] if you are concerned about your child’s progress or would like more information or advice on preparing your child for school in September.
We wish you all a wonderful summer and we would love to hear about the amazing work you are doing to support your children’s social, emotional, and physical growth through creativity.
‘Future of Jobs’ report: http://reports.weforum.org/future-of-jobs-2016/#xlink
‘Durham Comission on Creativity and Education’ https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/publication/durham-commission-creativity-...