School Vacation Tips

They call me the TV police. I struggle each school vacation to prevent a semester’s worth of learning, stimulation and independent thinking from being sucked into the television. Read on to find a few ideas on stimulating your child’s imagination over the summer.


Challenge your child to write ideas for their own original episode for their favorite shows. I tried this with my children and at first, their efforts were … can I say effortless? But with time, it has grown into quite a tradition.


Stimulate their imagination by encouraging them to make up stories about the things they see around them. If there is an ant on the ground that changes direction, make up a story about why the ant turned, what it could have forgotten. Look for an interesting looking person, plant or animal outside of your window and create a story around them. Work on it together, each person contributing ideas to the story.


Many parents give children rewards for reading a certain number of books. To encourage your children to read a variety of the books this summer, try a reading Pizza. Cut out a large circle from construction paper. Cut out smaller circles to represent the pizza toppings. Each topping corresponds to a type of book, fiction – adventure might be a pineapple, a thriller may be bacon, comedy is an onion, Non-fiction – ham and so on. Each time they read a book, they write the name and author on the appropriate circle and stick it on their pizza circle. Only one topping is allowed per pizza. If they complete a pizza, they receive a reward.


Encourage your children to learn and use new words. Every now and then, choose a new word before dinner together and give a reward for each time your child uses the word properly.


Encourage your child to keep a journal of their summer activities. Presenting them with a special book to write in is a great way to encourage them to write.


Encourage your children to write a story or poem for the new online magazine Anansesem. Seeing their work published will be a great boost for their confidence.


Listen to a book on tape.


Children often beg to stay up just a few minutes later. When possible, allow them the extra time, but only if it is spent reading.

Remember: Parents who read aloud to their children are teaching literacy concepts simply by sharing books.

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