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Making the Holidays Count

12 February 2015

Eleanor Jess, Head of Key Stage 2, gives us some hints and tips about what to do in the holidays with your children to engage them in meaningful family time.

With Chinese New Year approaching many families are looking forward to the holiday and having time to spend together.  For parents though, persuading their children to put aside their various electronic games and devices and take part in family life can have its challenges!  Here are some suggestions of activities for you to do together with your child. These are mainly aimed at children in Key Stage 2, aged from 7-11 years, but can be adapted for all ages!

Visit an Art Gallery

Many children have never been to an art gallery and there are several in Shanghai.  Encourage your child to pick a favourite painting and then go home and try to paint in the style of the artist.  Modern art is usually a winner for all abilities; one of my favourites is the work of Mark Rothko, colourful and easy to reproduce. 

Make a Quiz

Children soak up knowledge and have information available at the touch of a keyboard.  Encourage them to devise a quiz to test other members of the family.  It might be capitals of the world, things we learned on holiday etc.  Linking this to work in school means they are able to show off their knowledge.  Then they can have some fun as the quiz master, awarding points for correct answers and imposing the rules.  Children love that power!

Keep a Log

Particularly if travelling during the holidays, encourage your child to keep a diary and/or scrap book of their holiday.  Tickets, postcards, photos etc. will all make it more interesting and fun.  When they get back some children enjoy making an exhibition about the country they visited to share.  Starting a blog means that their experiences can be shared with friends as they travel and is a great way to encourage writing for a purpose.

Learn a New Skill

How about hula hooping? or roller blading? or juggling? or ice skating? even skipping, as many children have never ot learned?  This is even more fun if mum and dad learn at the same time and parents act as role models, actively demonstrating resilience, perseverance and even good humour as they struggle to gain mastery.

Make a Film

Filming is second nature to many children of this age and there are a range of ideas that can motivate them.  They could make a film about their life, perhaps a TV advert, or create comedy sketches to make people laugh.  Some children can get technical and use inanimate objects, carefully moving them and stopping and starting the camera so they appear to be alive.  Their film can then be admired by invited guests to a gala premiere event.

Finally…get active! 

Holidays should be all about spending time with your children and there is no better way than getting out and about.  Go on a bike ride together, play sports, fly a kite, go swimming!  All activities encourage a healthy active lifestyle for the future.  Whatever activity you pick, have fun together.  These are the moments you will treasure in the future!  Happy holidays!