When school is out, it can be a big temptation to stay as far away as possible from anything that looks like work. Whilst it is true that children definitely need a break, and that lots of playing and outdoors activity is important for their development over summer, it’s a good idea to keep writing skills ticking over. Many teachers mention a general deterioration of skills over the six-week break, so here are five quick ways to help keep writing at the forefront of your little ones’ minds.
1) Shopping lists.
For you they might be boring, but your children have probably never written one before. Whilst a little bit of supervision may be necessary (or your list might read ‘biscuits, magazines, lots of pop’), writing a shopping list is a good way to check spellings, practise forming letters, and to realise the practical implications of writing outside of a classroom.
In our digital age, not many messages are sent by snail mail, which is what gives them such an appeal. The addition of a postage stamp and the chance to post something in a red shiny box will lend letter-writing the charm needed to counteract the tricky writing part! Plus, grannies and grandas, godparents and far-flung aunties and uncles all love a good old-fashioned letter.
3) Playing teacher.
This one is perfect for school-aged children with younger siblings. If you suggest to your five- or six- year-old that they might like to sit down quietly and do some writing, the chances are that you’ll be met with a disdainful look. However, the chance to teach toddler siblings how things are done at big school might be all the encouragement they need to show off their best handwriting and spelling.
4) The creative streak.
Educational centres such as museums, libraries and nature reserves usually have their own activities for children which allow for a bit of practice. To take this to the next level, why not let the kids make their own museum or gallery? A shed or spare room can quickly (although chaotically) be turned into a museum, complete with their treasures and many home-made signs and maps. Any visitors to the house will, of course, need to be given a guided tour…
If your child has a creative streak and is interested in writing reviews or articles for our youth journalism website, www.nebeep.com, or even the print edition, please drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you. Writing for an audience is one of the best ways to engage young people with the written word, and we want every capable young person to have a platform to express themselves. Get in touch at [email protected] to find out more.
Have a great summer.