10 fun ways to improve your kid’s English during the school holidays

December 27, 2019
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    Holidays are a great time for parents to bond with children and engage them imaginatively and creatively while helping them continue to hone their language skills.

    Mala Sundram, the head of Speech & Drama and Readers & Writers at Julia Gabriel Education, shares tips on how you can ensure your children will have a meaningful and enriching holiday experience.

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  • Create a holiday scrapbook
    2 / 11 Create a holiday scrapbook

    Take pictures of your family holiday and engage the children while compiling them into a scrapbook. They can caption the photos and even contribute a little write-up about the photos. The scrapbook can be physically put together or it be done up on the computer as a digital scrapbook.

    Older children may enjoy converting some family videos into short movies, which can be included into the album. This can be a very meaningful way of capturing precious family holidays.

    (Also read: Where to go with your kids in Singapore)

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  • Review books and movies
    3 / 11 Review books and movies

    Take the children to the library and borrow age appropriate books of interest. Create a holiday reading plan with the children. You can also take them out for kid-friendly movies.

    Then, encourage your kids to review the books they have read (fiction and non-fiction) and the movies they have watched. Create a simple review template, which will include a brief summary of the story, favourite characters and scenes, personal opinions about the book or movie and a recommendation.

    You can model reviewing strategies by also doing the same with the books you’ve read and films you have watched.


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  • Play language based games
    4 / 11 Play language based games

    Holidays are a great time to bond over board games that can hone children’s language skills. Games like Scrabble and Boggle are great fun while incidentally helping children learn new words and master their spelling.

    (Also read: 10 indoor playgrounds to visit before Pinkfong Baby Shark’s one opens in 2020)

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  • Create a story
    5 / 11 Create a story

    Use picture cards or picture cubes to take turns to tell a story or even create a story together – each family member adds a line to the story using a picture card or picture cube as a stimulus.

    Creating stories together is a great way for children to learn sequencing and hone their understanding of story structure. It can also stimulate their creativity as interesting and even unusual plot lines can be created.

    (Also read: Singapore school holidays 2020: Dates to plan your family trips around)

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  • Begin a diary
    6 / 11 Begin a diary

    Plan visits to places of interest in Singapore, such as the zoo, museums, Botanic Gardens, and so on. Encourage your kids to observe their surroundings while on the trip (what do they see, hear, feel, and so on). They could jot down their observations in a notebook and  or take photos to remember interesting details.

    After the visit, encourage them to write a diary entry for each of these places of interest. They can even personalise their diary and decorate it to make the task more stimulating and enjoyable. Older children could blog their entries. They could even be creative and write a poem to capture their experience.

    (Also read: 6 tips to teach your kids better English composition writing)

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  • Make puppets and put up a puppet show
    7 / 11 Make puppets and put up a puppet show

    Children love engaging in art and craft activities during the holidays. Parents could get some art supplies and the family could create puppets together (either simple finger puppets, puppets on sticks or more elaborate puppets on gloves etc). The puppets could be created based on fairytales, other stories of interest, superheroes, favourite computer game characters etc.

    The family can plot a storyline together for the puppets and the project can culminate in a puppet show which can be quite simple staged with pieces of cloth, chairs and a table. (There are also simple puppet stands which can be purchased from toy stores). During the puppet show the children can take on the roles of the characters and provide the dialogue, a parent or older sibling can be the narrator.

    (Also read: School holiday fun on a budget? Singapore families show how they do it)

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  • Create a recipe book
    8 / 11 Create a recipe book

    Holidays are a good time to engage children with cooking activities. Parents who enjoy cooking can try out new dishes with the children at home. Baking is also a fun holiday activity that can be very educational for children. They will learn about measurements, safety and hygiene when handling food, science knowledge about heat conductivity, suitable materials for cooking, handling kitchen electrical appliances etc.

    As the cooking adventures continue, children can be encouraged to write down recipes, source recipes from the internet and even create new recipes. Recipe writing will introduce the children to procedural writing which is a very useful writing skill.

    (Also read: How to help your kids get along during the school holidays)

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  • Make craft/games from recycled materials
    9 / 11 Make craft/games from recycled materials

    Educating our young about protecting the environment is very important. Parents can encourage their children to collect recyclable materials over the term and convert these into craft and toys during the holidays.

    Bottles, cans, empty tissue boxes, toilet paper rolls, wooden chopsticks, plastic ice cream tubs, etc all make great materials for craft ideas. Children can make cars, robots, castles, keepsake boxes, pencil holders, jars for potted plants and seashells – the list can go on.

    These craft items can be used in imaginative play, they can make great presents and can decorate the home. Children will learn to be more conscious of resources and protecting the environment.

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  • Create a prop box for imaginative play
    10 / 11 Create a prop box for imaginative play

    The holidays are a great time to do some spring cleaning, recycle toys and clothes and convert these items into a prop box which children can use for imaginative play.

    Simple alterations and additions to these clothes and toys can convert them into fun props – magic wands, capes, a wizard hat, a knight’s sword, masks and treasure boxes are great additions to a prop box.

    Invite a few friends over and let the children play with items from the prop box, creating their own stories and staging little skits for the family to enjoy.

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  • Create a news bulletin
    11 / 11 Create a news bulletin

    Encourage your kids to keep up with current affairs especially during the holidays by reading news articles and non-fiction magazine articles together. They can cut out interesting articles and create their own news bulletin (pasted on a big sheet on vanguard) which can feature some of these articles.

    Older children can be encouraged to respond to these articles by writing their responses to it, what they have learnt from these news articles or non-fiction reports. They can also be encouraged to create their own news reports based on pictures from the newspaper.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)


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