13th July 2022
The Summer holidays are a time for kids to relax, have fun, and enjoy the (hopefully) nicer weather. It’s important that children take breaks from learning during the holidays, as breaks reduce stress, and increase focus, productivity, and memory retention.
Having said that, children shouldn’t completely mentally switch off. Research has shown that children who don’t keep learning over summer lose up to 40% of the previous school year’s learnings – that’s a lot of catching up that needs to be done in September!
So, we recommend that children do a mix of both learning and fun activities over summer.
Our GCSE Summer School perfectly supports blending learning and fun. It incentivises children to do some GCSE learning over summer whilst also providing flexibility and plenty of time to relax and spend time with friends and family. Find out more about our GCSE Summer School here.
If you want to kill 2 birds with 1 stone, here are 10 activities your child can do over summer to keep their brains ticking over but that they’ll also enjoy, so they can pick up from where they left off more quickly come September.
By following a recipe and measuring out the ingredients your child will be applying their GCSE Maths skills of understanding of number values, reading scales, and potentially also converting measurements between imperial and metric units. And if you challenge your child to make a different quantity to what’s given in the recipe, they’ll also be using ratios and proportions to work out how much of each ingredient they need.
You could also use this as an opportunity to get your child thinking about GCSE Chemistry e.g. “Is the cake batter a mixture or a compound?” or “Why does the thermal decomposition of baking powder make the cake rise?”
Plus, from a social perspective, baking is a great activity for bonding. So if you want some quality parent-child bonding time, why not suggest you and your child bake together.
And if cakes aren’t their thing, they can always bake brownies, flapjacks or some other delicious kind of baked food instead.
Your child will have to study at least one play for GCSE English Literature, including one Shakespeare play. Taking your child to a showing of the play they're studying will develop their understanding of the play as well as helping them more easily remember the key characters, events and quotes from the play.
If you’re not luckily enough to live near a theatre, have a look at your local cinema’s film listing. Cinemas often show films that are live recordings of plays or musicals from large theatre companies e.g. National Theatre Live.
Science doesn’t just have to be kept to the Science lab – there are plenty of Science experiments that are safe to do at home too!
By considering weight, friction and principles of streamlining, from GCSE Physics they could compete with their friends to see who can make a toy car from household objects that will go the furthest when released from the top of a ramp (Tip - you might want to save up your recycling or a week or so beforehand for this one).
Or, if the weather is nice and you want to put a summer spin on this experiment, they can compete to see who can go the furthest on a ‘slip and slide’.
It may seem old fashioned to still send a postcard to a friend or family member, rather than simply popping a message in a group chat, but letter writing is a key skill your child is still expected to know for their GCSE English Language exams.
Plus, the extra effort required and the fact they’ll have something physical to hold on to means whoever they send the postcard to will treasure the postcard a lot more.
Set your child a budget and allow them to organise the next family takeaway. Giving them this responsibility will show your child that you trust them. This will also help them develop the crucial life skill of budgeting.
They’ll need to use their GCSE Maths arithmetic skills, to work out what combination of food items they can order whilst staying in budget. And if you’re all chipping in, they’ll also have to work out how much each person needs to contribute.
Pizza is a good pick as it also gives you the opportunity to ask some GCSE Maths questions relations to fractions, percentages, area of circles whilst eating e.g. “If I eat 2 slices of the pizza, what percentage of the pizza will I have eaten?” or “If we buy a 12” pizza instead of a 10” pizza, how much extra pizza will we get?”
If your family doesn’t get takeaways, you could apply the same idea to other activities, such as giving your child a budget for buying some new clothes for themselves.
Excessive screen time can lead to sleep deprivation and insomnia. It can also have negative effects on your child’s mental health and eyesight. Family board games nights are a good way to encourage your child to take a screen break for a few hours.
Get your child to practise their GCSE English reading comprehension and public speaking skills by giving them the responsibility of reading the instructions, setting up the games and explaining the rules to the rest of the family.
Biodiversity (which is about the level of variety of plant and animal life in a particular habitat) is a major GCSE Biology topic. Get your child to count how many different plants or animals they see whilst on a walk in the countryside or your local park.
Ask them to use their findings to give you their opinion on the level of biodiversity in the area. You could also ask them to look around and point out anything that you think might be positively or negatively impacting the level of biodiversity in the area.
You could even take this a step further by creating some homemade quadrats, by sticking straws together, and using them to do the GCSE Biology quadrat required practical.
Since they’re likely to have more free time over summer, ask your child to plan a healthy meal, buy all the ingredients needed for it, and then cook it for the family – don’t forget to get them to do the washing up afterwards too!
Not only will they be helping out around the house but they'll also be getting ready for life once they leave home, which might not be too far off if they plan to go the university.
In GCSE Biology your child will learn about the main food groups and why it’s important we eat each of them, as well as how much we should be eating of them. Cooking allows them to apply the theory they’ve learnt into a real-life context, which is likely to make it easier for them to remember the key facts needed in their exams.
Plus, this is another opportunity for them to practise their numeracy and budgeting skills by comparing prices of different brands for each ingredient at the supermarket.
Report writing is an important skill that lots of people use beyond their GCSE English Language exams and into their real-life jobs. Whether you take them to an in-person sports event, or they simply watch the latest match on the TV, writing a match report will help your child develop this skill early.
They will be practising how to summarise information and write selectively, by pick out the key information and events from the match. They’ll also need to consider the structure and order of their report - people who haven’t seen the match should be able to read the report and understand what happened.
If sports isn’t their “scene”, you could suggest they write a report or review of their favourite TV or film instead.
Family holidays often involves hours of travelling. Your child can use this time productivity by listening to an audiobook or podcast series.
It could be a recording of a book or play they’re studying for GCSE English Literature, or maybe a podcast series that helps them better understand the plot, context, characters, or events of what they’re studying.
If you want your child to listen to some educational podcasts, we have hundreds of FREE ‘Listen and Learn’ podcasts available on our Spotify or Apple Podcasts channels.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be linked to what they’re studying for their exams. Listening to any audiobook will indirectly expand their vocabulary and understanding of sentence structures, which will improve their GCSE English writing skills.
The 10 fun activities we've suggested that your child can do over summer, that also incorporate some GCSE English, Maths and Science learning are:
Our GCSE English and Maths lessons, made by real teachers, will remind your child of key GCSE content. Our highly engaging videos and real prizes to be won, including the chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher, make learning fun!
The full Summer School programme can be completed in only 2-4 weeks, by doing just 1-2 lessons a day, so your child will still have plenty of time to relax and have fun. Plus, our bite-sized lessons are available on-demand so it’s easy to fit learning around family trips or social plans.
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