Half term is next week, and for the most part, you may have plans to go away, relax or spend time with family. You may also be thinking about those pesky 11+ exams coming up at the end of the year but do not fear, there is still time, without becoming complacent. So here are some half term activities to do with your child that will keep them thinking, exploring and problem solving.
Baking is a great way for children to practise reading and following instructions. They need to be able to pick out the important information and use it to prepare the ingredients and cook. Give them a challenge by telling them how many people you need the cookies for or how many cookies you would like, maybe you can make some for your neighbours or for a Jubilee party you are hosting. If the recipe says it makes 10 cookies, ask for 20, or to stretch their understanding of proportion, ask for 15 cookies. They will then have to work out how much of each ingredient they need. You can also have them collect the ingredients, handle the money for anything else they need, and make sure they have the correct change.
Practise Times Tables And Vocabulary
While this might seem like a boring thing to do during the holidays, it is so important to keep your child thinking about these skills. If they have a vocabulary notebook that they write new words into, keep that going and take it with you. These are perfect activities to take with you anywhere, including into the woods camping without any wifi around.
Ask them random times tables and try to get them to answer quickly. Challenge them to answering as many times tables questions in a set amount of time; can they get faster? Ask them questions about the area of the tent you are sleeping in or of the trampoline at the trampoline park. They can estimate the length and width of each and times them together.
Head over to our Quizlet classrooms with lots of decks of maths and English flashcards to study and practise.
Make writing a family activity. You could have a theme each day of the half term. Even if it is just for 10 minutes a day, get your child to write. Sometimes children will feel inspired to write on their own. If that is the case, let them! Don’t worry too much about spelling, punctuation and grammar or in what form they write. That can come later.
Sometimes children find it difficult to be inspired to write. Here are some suggestions of prompts:
- Head out to the park and have them write what they see, hear, smell and touch.
- Design their own bedroom/classroom/living room and have them write about why they chose the arrangement and items they did. Have them be specific.
- Go to the library and pick a book about fantasy characters or animals such as fairies, dragons, hobbits, etc. and get them to use those in a story about another world.
Again, do not worry about the grammar or their handwriting. Just let them write. Let them explore different words and tap into their senses. If they are allowed to write freely, they are more likely to write in the long-term.
Play Board Games
Board games are a lovely activity to do as a family. It allows everyone to join in and have some fun while also getting the brain thinking and problem solving. Here are some of our favourites:
- 5-Minute Dungeon – Defeat the monsters to escape the dungeon. Each person takes on a persona with special skills but everyone needs to work together and quickly. A positive: each round only takes 5 minutes.
- Say Anything – Players generate funny answers to quirky questions. This is great practice for interviews and thinking on your feet.
- Cluedo – Be curious and critical by thinking about whodunnit. Think critically by writing things down and listening to other people’s questions.
- Pictionary – A game of drawing. This game forces you to think about how to clearly show your ideas without using words. This is a great way to practise thinking flexibly and communicating with clarity and precision.
- Scattergories – This word game is fast-paced and encourages creative thinking. A great way to practise vocabulary skills as well as thinking-outside-the-box.
Learn About The World
Spend time reading and watching the news. It can be a hard thing to do but spend quality time with it. Talk to your child about what is happening in the world. Try not to bring your own emotions into it and let them make up their own mind. Make sure it is coming from a trusted source. You can also talk about how to work out whether something is trustworthy. Research the owners of different broadcasting networks or the authors of different articles. For the 11+ entrance process, many interviews like to ask children about what they understand of the world or about something they have heard about in the news. It is important for children to be aware of it and to analyse the information for themselves.
After researching what is happening, try asking the children to come up with some solution to the problems the world is facing. This may help if your child is particularly worried about things that are happening. It may give them a sense of purpose and that the world is not a hopeless place to be in but that things can change.
Summer Holiday Courses
In the spirit of half term activities, this summer all of our holiday courses are established on the foundations of metacognition and instilling the principles of self-reflection and self-evaluation. Join us to become an Expert Learner or find ways to improve your Maths Skills, and more. The five-day summer workshops, daily duration of 1.5 hours, are repeated weekly and open to pupils in Years 4, 5 & 6.