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Summer holiday catch-up for primary students

Last month we looked at ways to make sure older children don’t lose ground over the long summer holiday break.

But what about the primary age group? If anything, the problem of forgetting knowledge and skills is even greater for kids in Years 1 to 6. They are less mature – six weeks’ holiday is practically a lifetime when you’re eight – and, unless they are soon to take entrance tests (discussed in our last post), they don’t have major targets to aim for in the way that GCSE and A-Level students do.

So what can you do to keep him or her sharp and productive over the school holiday without pushing too hard? Here are some tips:

  • If you’ve read this blog before, you’ll know that we’re great believers in the importance of keeping up with reading. Having a book on the go throughout the summer maintains and improves comprehension skills, as well as firing the imagination and developing general knowledge. And let’s face it – if your child gets into reading it’s a great way of keeping him or her occupied during the long summer days!
  • Puzzles and games are great for developing maths and reasoning skills. Even something as old-fashioned as Monopoly will help keep your child sharp, and if you’re going on holiday books of puzzles are a great way to while away long car journeys. Try to steer your child towards more challenging puzzles and games. Older children, in particular, will do better with puzzles like Sudoko, maths problems and verbal reasoning than with simple word searches and ‘spot the difference’. If you don’t have many good educational games at home, check out the Science Museum’s online store or the brilliant collection of educational toys and games at
  • On the subject of museums, why not plan a few visits? Many run great events for kids over the school summer holidays; if you’re heading to London the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum are surprisingly kid-friendly and a paradise for the curious. Further north, Eureka in West Yorkshire is specifically designed to get kids into science.
  • Even if you’re not planning a family visit, all three of those museums have great online areas. Eureka, for example, has a selection of free kids’ games. The NHM has a full Kids’ Area, containing live camera feeds of ants’ nests and more. The Science Museum’s Online Stuff includes a section of games that are great for older kids. In particular, if you have a child in the 10-12 age group, the Museum’s Thingdom online game, which teaches kids about genes and evolution, is brilliant. Overall, the Museum’s collection of free educational games for kids is one of the best available anywhere – you can find the full listing here.
  • There are other great websites that can help maintain your child’s skills. Sites like The KidsKnowIt network and offer an array of resources and free online learning games that can help your child stay sharp and occupied – while having fun! Some sites are a bit American in style, but once you work out that the year numbering in the US K-12 system is pretty much the same as in the British Y1-13 system, it’s easy to find material suitable for your kids. They might also like the BBC’s DynaMo and Digger and the Gang pages – the latter is divided up into activies by age range.
  • Is your child showing the beginnings of talent for practical and technical subjects? You might think about getting hold of some Meccano or LEGO for them (if they don’t already have it). Meccano products are available in four age ranges (2+, 5+, 7+ and 8+), offering great opportunities for kids to explore their practical skills and develop their reasoning ability – find out more on the Meccano website. LEGO also offers some great stuff: if you have very bright children in the 10+ age range who are showing a real flair for technical subjects, you could nurture their talents with some of the amazing products in the LEGO MindStorms series. If your kids are are slightly younger (or you want to spend slightly less!) then many of the products in LEGO’s TECHNIC range are also ideal.
  • How about hiring a tutor for some summer tuition? Nothing beats personal help, and here at 121 Home Tutors we do quite a bit of work helping younger children in the Greater Manchester, Stockport and Macclesfield,  Wilmslow, Cheshire areas. We can offer fun, one-to-one, tailored summer tuition to meet your child’s needs and ensure that he or she doesn’t fall behind over the long summer break from school.

If you’d like to talk about any aspect of what we do, or discuss summer tuition options for your primary age children, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us!

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