School holidays are again upon us! I don’t know about you, but I am seriously excited about two weeks off from making packed lunches and having to walk to school in the early morning freezing cold!
We like to keep up with our learning over the break, but we don’t want to bog the children down with old-school homework. These ten activities fit the bill – developing skills in English and maths, but not seeming like ‘work’.
If you are travelling around over the holidays, these can easily be done on the road, in fact, they have been designed with that in mind, although they can also be done just as easily from the kitchen table.
- Population Sensation: Research and record the population of ten towns within Australia (or overseas is fine, too). If you are travelling, use towns you visit or drive through. If you are at home, grab a map or an atlas, and randomly select 10 towns. To find out the population, simply use Google!
Once you have your town populations recorded, use the numbers to study place value and addition and subtraction. For the older children, you can also include some division.
Examples of questions to ask are: Which town has a population with a 4 in the hundreds place? Which town has the largest population? Which town has the smallest? What is the difference between the population of the largest town and the smallest town? If all these towns joined together, what would the new population be? What would be a good name for the new town? Looking at the population of Town A, how many houses do you think there might be in that town? How did you work that out?
The possibilities here are endless!
- Metre Measurement: Using a tape measure or a piece of string or rope cut to 1 metre in length, find a tree with a circumference of less than a metre, a tree with a circumference of more than a metre and a tree with a circumference or exactly 1 metre. Draw and label the trees you find.
Then make a list of items in your home (or wherever you are staying) that are more than a metre long and less than a metre long.
- Time to Help: Time yourselves completing everyday tasks, such as hanging out the washing or vacuuming the floors. How long does it take you? Keep a record and see if you can improve your time as the holidays go on.
You can also approach this as a family competition and see who in the family is fastest at sweeping the floors etc. Time penalties apply for shoddy work!
- Tally Ho: Choose a topic on which to collect data. Some suggestions are:
- The different coloured cars you see
- The various animals you see
- The road signs you see
- Meals prepared
- Hours spent on various tasks (travelling, eating, sleeping, playing etc.)
- The number of people you meet each day
Whatever category you choose, collect data each day for a week. For example, draw up a table with different colours as the column titles and then put a tally mark in the correct column each time you see a car of that colour.
At the end of the week, decide what kind of graph you want to create: bar, column, pictograph, line, pie, and use your data (tally marks) to draw your graph.
- Marvellous Money: Estimate how much money you think the family will spend over the coming week. Then, during the week, keep track of all the money spent. Write down the items purchased and keep a running total. At the end of the week, have a look back at your estimation and see how close you were. Maybe you can then work with the family to set a budget for the following week.
- Location, Location: You can use these 10 questions to research any town you choose from a map or an atlas, or if you are travelling, any town you visit along the way. Your research can be done through Google, or if you are actually there in the town, you can talk to locals, or visit a town museum or a local library (if there is one).
- What is the name of the town and how did it get its name?
- Has this town ever had a different name? If so, what was it?
- When was the town founded?
- What is the current population of the town?
- What is one thing this town is known for?
- Which state or territory is this town in? If overseas, which country and continent?
- What is your favourite thing about this town?
- Would you like to live here? Why/why not?
- What do you think would be difficult about living in this town?
- Was anyone famous born in this town? If so, who?
- World Words: Spend one day, writing down 20-30 words you see on signs or in print in the world around you. You might record words from road signs, café menus, information leaflets etc. When you have your list of words, ask an adult to check your spellings and then use your words to create a word search (or word find) for someone in your family to solve.
Older children could use the list words to create a crossword.
- Story Script: On one given day, write down the very first sentence you hear, or the very first sentence you hear from someone who is not in your family. Write down 3 names you hear spoken, 2 items you see, 1 food or drink you consume and another sentence you hear spoken throughout the day.
You must now use the elements you have recorded in a story. The first sentence you heard must be your first line and the other sentence you wrote down, must be your last line. You must use the names you recorded as your character names and the items and the food/drink must also be incorporated into your story.
When you have finished writing, don’t forget to proofread your work and then share your story with your family.
- Place of Peace: Choose a place you love. It might be in your room, on top of a rock, under a tree or in the middle of a park. Wherever you choose, just sit, be still for a while and think about where you are and how it makes you feel. When you are ready, fill in the gaps in the following sentences:
Here, in this place, I feel ________________
If this place were a colour, it would be _____________
If this place had a sound, it would be ______________
If this place had a name, it would be ________________
If this place were an animal, it would be ________________
When I am here, I feel I could _______________
If a story were told about this place, it would be (happy, sad, scary etc.) _________________
I will always remember this place as being ________________
When you have finished your writing, move away from where you have been sitting and look back at it. Now draw what you see.
- Powers of Observation: Collect 10-20 different items from your environment. You might collect a rock, a feather, a saucepan, a spoon, a book etc. When you have your items, place them on the ground or on a table in front of you. Spend some time simply looking at and studying the items. Now close your eyes and have someone remove 3 items. Open your eyes. Can you work out what’s missing?
This activity can be repeated several times and can also be adapted as a spelling/writing task: Have the adult collect the items, the child/ren study them for 1 minute. Then throw a blanket over the collection and the children have to use their best spelling and handwriting attempts to write down the items they remember.
These activities can be done wherever you are over these school holidays. Whether you are travelling, holidaying or resting at home, we have you covered!
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