Depending on your viewpoint the fact that we have such long summer holidays here in the UAE can be a blessing or a curse. Some families and children relish the opportunity to spend endless days together, travelling the world, visiting relatives overseas and having new and exciting experiences. For the majority of families however the reality is very different with work commitments, limited resources, demanding children and the Dubai heat restricting what can be done in the eight weeks that schools are closed. Here at The Aquila School, we understand and are therefore pleased to offer our top ten tips to keep children engaged, happy and learning during the long weeks of summer.
- Relax. Children will have had a long busy year learning at school so they need time to relax.
- Spend time pursuing an interest. This could be something the child already loves or something new such as drawing, painting, poetry writing, cooking, songwriting, making a board game, the possibilities are endless.
- Limit screen time. Children have plenty opportunities to look at screens but it is wise and healthy to limit this so they can pursue other activities and interact with other children and adults.
- Create a journal of the exciting activities they have been doing and the places they have visited. For children staying in Dubai, this could be a fantasy journal or an opportunity for them to write their own stories.
- Re-discover or discover for the first time a love of reading. There are so many wonderful books available for both fiction and non-fiction.
- Spend time with family and create a family tree.
- Decorate a part of the house or their bedroom. Children are very creative and love having a say in creating the environment they spend much of their time in.
- Learn a new playground game that they can teach their friend’s next term. Who knows, this could even become a craze of the future!
- Keep active. It is so easy to become sedentary during the hot months of summer here in the UAE so encourage children to have their own daily workout routine to keep their mind and body fit and active.
- Stay up late. You can’t do it during term time. So enjoy it during the holidays when you don’t need to get up early in the morning!
As with all things a balance is needed. Children spend many weeks working very hard in school as so just like adults they need a break from routine. At the same time young minds are ripe for learning and we know that very often children start the school year in September appearing to know less and remember less than they did when they left at the end of the summer term, this is sometimes referred to as a summer dip. Taking part in some of the activities we suggest can help children to carry on learning at home over the summer in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.