Ten tips for keeping kids’ brains active during the summer term

The Premier League asked Mumsnetters for their top tips on keeping kids interested in learning when long, fun-filled summer afternoons beckon. So if the chimes of the ice cream van herald a mass vanishing act in your house, read on for advice …

Routine is EVERYTHING.
woman putting up timetable

“A timetable on the hallway wall for maths, reading and art time, along with time on the trampoline and scheduled days out at theme parks etc – it’s the 'carrot and stick' effect for the weekly schedule. It's important to have a routine to keep brains ticking over and exercised, but having a fun time also.”

Fresh air is good for the brain.
Two boys lying on a blanket outdoors

“We work outside on a blanket in the garden. We make homemade lemonade and head out. I work, and so do they. Lovely.”

Break out the Bunsen burner.
Two children doing a science experiment

“We love doing simple science experiments at home or my daughter and I will share an adult colouring book. It's our time together. Also, she loves doing all these things in a den made out of dining chairs, sheets clipped with pegs and pillows.”

Cook up a storm.
child baking

“We love to cook and we'll try to incorporate some maths along the way. We see who can guess and tot up the total cost of the ingredients shop.”

Creative ways of thinking.
lots of craft tools

“We have a huge craft box full of pens, glue, glitter and magazines to cut pictures out of, so we get that out and on the back of an unused roll of wallpaper make murals. Or we lay my son on the wallpaper, draw round him and then colour in the shape, add the skeleton, bones, internal organs and facial features which is great fun – I intend to keep them each year to see how he has grown over the years.”

Learning through doing.
boy with lighthouse reflected in binoculars

“I am very lucky in that the homework from my daughter's school is always very vocational – so there are things like 'learn five facts about lighthouses' or 'learn to tie shoelaces', 'do a nature collage', 'find an older person to tell you about the seaside when they were younger'.”

Rest up.
Bored grumpy girl

“Last year I found there were loads of extra things happening in the evening in the summer term, which made my already pretty tired five year old exhausted, which then made her uncooperative, stroppy etc. So I had to limit the number of extra activities, especially ones that went on late. Didn't make me popular, but kept us all sane.”

Board game, not bored game.
scrabble tiles spell learn

“For homework I let my son use whatever (appropriate!) method he wants. For instance for spellings he will sometimes just write them, but other times he'll use Scrabble tiles or similar.”

Dream a little dream. Girl sleeping

“I think it's important to still make sure they have plenty of sleep, so blackout curtains and gadget-free bedrooms are a must.”

Chalk it up to experience.
Girl doing chalk maths on pavement

“We’ve been taking chalks in to the garden and doing some writing and maths on the patio paving. Much more fun than using paper.”