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It is that time of the year when schools are off before the start of a new academic session.  Teachers are excitedly rummaging through their box of new ideas to implement in the new session. And children & parents have a perfect opportunity to bond in this time off!

As a parent, if you are looking for ideas to plan the summer break in such a way that everybody has fun with wonderful memories woven, here are a few of them:

  • Scout local attractions. The city temple or museum that your child has not visited so far. The Nature Park or the animal shelter that you always wanted to take your child to. Or maybe the Home for the blind or the local orphanage that you wanted to take a trip to, so as to sensitize your child towards the blessings they take for granted. All you want is for them to be thankful for their blessings. Summer holidays is a great time to explore these options.
  • Planning a Road trip to a relative or a heritage city or a village nearby is also a great idea. Children love road trips as it gives them ample time with their family and their undivided attention as well.
  • In case the holiday destination is far off, you will naturally need to plan for a journey by air.
  • Either ways, you need to be well armed. Remember, children have oodles of energy and right now there is no school routine to tap that energy. So, plan well so as to enjoy to the optimum.
  • Make sure to pack some travel snacks. Dry snacks are a good option as they are less messy. Your child is likely to experience hunger pangs every hour or so. Carry some fruit loops or cheerios’. Ask the child to count the cereal loops as they eat. Or maybe take a clean ribbon and string the cheerios’ before you embark on your travel. Make a cereal necklace. Eating from a fruit loop necklace can be fun! Will also keep the boredom away. (Make sure the child is old enough to recognize that ribbons are not meant to be eaten😊)
  • Carry a few lacing cards that will not only keep the children engaged but will also develop their pincer grip as they lace through the holes.
  • Pack a few finger puppets. Ask the child to wear them one by one, as you shout the name of an alphabet or an animal.  Just go like this. C –means wear the cat puppet. E-means wear the elephant puppet. 5 means wear the 5th puppet! Always keep a surprise element in your story! Such literacy games keep the children well engaged during travel.
  • You can also pick up a few window clings. These are simple shapes / animal figures/ community helper cut outs with a magnet or a sticky tape behind them. Weave a story and ask the child to keep sticking one on the back seat or arm rest as you narrate a story. You can also encourage siblings to narrate any story to each other with a pause for window clings.
  • Carry a few wordless books along. Ask the child to look at the pictures, build a story and narrate it to you. Let their imagination go wild. Appreciate the new vocabulary words that the child may end up using.  You are doing a great job at play-based language learning.
  • Children have a huge degree of curiosity. Keep a couple of sheets of car outlines ready. Along with colourful crayons. The rule is – the minute you see a car pass by, notice its colour. Look for the car drawing in your sheet and colour it accordingly. For instance – if you see a green car pass by, colour the image in the sheet green (Hey parent! We have designed a sample sheet and attached it with the article, just for you! )
  • For the slightly older children who can read and write well, you can let them play a game around vehicle license plates. Before you start the journey, prepare a sheet with several state license vehicle codes. The trick is, as soon as children sight a license plate, they have to note down the vehicle code in their sheet, as well as guess which state the vehicle belongs to! This game is sure to brush up the parent’s travel dictionary as well. (Hey parent! We have designed a sample sheet and attached it with the article, just for you!)
  • Play an ‘Antakshari’ with names of family members only. For instance- if mummy says L, then the child has to speak out the name of any family member that begins with letter L, such as Lata aunty or Laboni didi.
  • Make their nap time real fun during travel. Well before their nap time, announce a ‘face mask’ game. The child can create face mask out of a handkerchief, a dupatta, a newspaper or even a napkin. Let them build the mask with their creativity. ‘Wear your mask and then take a nap’. Click the child with their self-created mask and save the picture for some awesome memories .

And just as you are nearing your destination, it is a good idea to put some soothing instrumental music on. It soothes everybody’s travel nerves. In case you are approaching a relative’s place, it helps you ready the child to exchange greetings and pleasantries. In case your destination is a hotel, their soothed nerves and muscles can take in the excitement of visiting a new place.

Hope you are all set to roll now.

Have a great holiday ahead.

Dr. Manjit Legha