I spent a few years working in a school with children with specific speech and language difficulties. When the summer holidays came round, parents often asked for homework to do over the summer. I think kids do enough formal work during the school year, and the last thing I want to do is give families an onerous stash of “work” to do on holiday. However, obviously I don’t want the kids to forget the things they’ve learned over the year. So, instead, I tended to give a “Summer Holiday Challenge” of language ideas to incorporate into day to day life and general summer holiday fun. (I can’t claim originality of this idea – I stole it from a fantastic teacher I used to work with – if you’re reading, you know who you are!)
This year, I am no longer working in that school and so haven’t needed to write a summer holiday challenge. But I thought instead that I’d share some ideas here of things I might include if I did! These ideas are aimed at Junior school age children (7-11), though you could do them with secondary kids as well.
- Choose a favourite game. Teach someone else how to play it. Think about and describe each thing you need to do, one at a time.
- Think of a place you would like to go to. Make a list of all the things you would need to take with you.
- Learn 5 new words related to things you have done.
- Take several photos of what you have done during one particular day. Then put them in order and tell someone back the story of what you did. Make sure you talk about each picture one by one.
- Read a new book. Choose a character in the book and talk about how they felt. See how many different feeling words you can think of.
- Learn your address (if you don’t already know it).
- On the way home from a trip out, take turns with an adult to name as many things as you can think of that you saw.
- Learn a joke and try it on a friend or someone in your family.
- Take a trip to somewhere you know well. See if you can give an adult directions of how to get there.
- Phone up a friend or someone in your family. Remember to say hello and goodbye and to tell them who is talking. Tell them what you have been doing that day and find out what they did too.
- Collect some objects from things that you have done during the holidays. Put them in a bag or box. Feel each one without looking and talk about what it feels like. See if you can guess what it is. Pull it out and see if you are right.
I saw a great blog post the other day full of lovely ideas of fun ways to practise speech sounds out and about over the summer. You can read it here. Also, if you’re going to be spending time travelling, there’s a list of word games to play while travelling here.
The change of routine over the summer can make for some great opportunities to expand language, even if you’re not going away anywhere or doing anything that exciting. What other ideas have you found for supporting language skills in the school holidays?