It is frustrating when you say goodbye to your young students for the summer. They know that when you see them in the fall, they have forgotten a lot about the language they learned in the previous semester. This phenomenon is known as summer learning loss and affects students of all ages and levels.
So how can you encourage your students to practice their language skills over the holidays? There are apps and online activities – but after a year of online teaching and digital learning, summer is a great opportunity for your young learners to relax and enjoy some time offline. Here are some activities to suggest to your students and their parents. There are no screens in sight and the whole family can practice English together:
Go on a scavenger hunt in nature
Take your students out into the fresh air with a nature scavenger hunt. Make a list of things your students can find in their garden or park. For younger students, keep the list simple, with things like trees, grass, or flowers associated with colors or numbers. For older students, you can make the scavenger hunt a little more challenging by including specific species of trees, flowers, or insects.
Here is an example of a scavenger hunt list for inspiration.
This offline activity strengthens the links between English and the outdoors. It helps to strengthen children’s observation skills and build their natural vocabulary along with their gross motor skills. What’s more several studies have shown that being in nature is enormously beneficial for children, restores their attention, relieves stress and helps them to become more creative and engaged.
Learn how to help your students connect with nature in the classroom.
Follow a recipe
For this activity, choose a recipe that you think your students will enjoy.
Cake or cookies are popular choices – most young learners have a sweet tooth! Then your students can work with their mom or dad to make a shopping list of the ingredients they need, buy them at the grocery store, and then follow the steps in the recipe.
Here are some kid-friendly recipe ideas from the BBC.
This type of offline activity helps young learners put their English into practical use. It will develop their vocabulary and combine their English skills with other skills such as math and science. Following a recipe from start to finish teaches kids how to follow instructions and solve problems. It also promotes their fine motor skills in watering, stirring, and chopping. When you get your cake out of the oven, you build your self-confidence – and can share this success with your family and friends. After all, almost everyone likes cake!
Read a story
Reading has numerous benefits for children (and adults too). It’s good for building vocabulary, developing creativity, and cultivating empathy. In addition, reading has shown itself to be dramatic Reduce stress. It’s the perfect antidote to too much screen time and a great way for students to maintain their English level over the summer. However, it is important to make sure that the text layer is correct. If it’s too difficult, your students will get frustrated and put off. It is important that reading is fun!
Suggest some graded readers to your students.
Older students can read on their own, but you can suggest some books for your students to read with their parents. Reading aloud together is a really positive way for parents and children to spend time together. It has a positive impact on children’s self-esteem and builds good associations with reading that will hopefully encourage them to become independent readers.
Learn to read a card
This activity requires a little preparation on the part of your students’ parents – but it’s fun and gets kids outdoors and away from screens! Encourage parents to open local maps and let the children choose a location to visit. Your students can then create a navigation guide in English that uses their driving directions and surroundings vocabulary to describe the route.
Here are some more map-related activities for families.
Learning how to read a card and follow directions is good cognitive exercise, as is physical exercise. It helps young learners solve problems and develops their decision-making and observation skills.
Do a few experiments
Suggest some DIY science experiments for your young learners to do at home. Just like with the recipe challenge, students need to make a list of the materials they will need and gather all of the components of the experiment together before setting everything up. Then follow the instructions in English and see how your experiments turn out!
Here are some great ideas for science experimentation.
Scientific experimentation is a great way to stimulate children’s intellectual curiosity and develop their critical thinking skills. It also encourages learners to solve problems and analyze results. Who knows, you might even be laying the seeds for a STEM career in the years to come!
Hopefully your students will take offline activities in English this summer and return to school in the fall to further improve their proficiency.