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Keeping children mentally stimulated during holidays

Parents are encouraged to keep their children active during the long holiday season.

HOLIDAY season for school-going children means a prolonged break from school. Social worker Buyisiwe Sophazi highlights the importance of keeping children mentally stimulated during this time and how this can be done. 

Sophazi says maintaining mental stimulation helps prevent the ‘learning loss’ that can occur during extended breaks.

Also read: Making dreams possible for World Children’s Day

“Children may have more free time during the holidays, and without mental stimulation, they may become bored or restless. Engaging activities can keep them occupied in positive ways, reducing the likelihood of behavioural issues due to idleness,” she said. 

Here are five things to do with your children to keep them mentally stimulated during the holiday season. 

 Nature walks / outdoor exploration

Take a walk in a park, forest or nature reserve. Encourage kids to observe and interact with their surroundings, identifying different plants, animals or geological features. You can create a scavenger hunt for specific items or simply ask open-ended questions about what they see.

Also read: Giving children a sense of belonging through adoption

Reading together

Use the local library to borrow books or read stories online. Engage in discussions about the story’s plot and characters, and encourage children to predict what may happen next. Ask them to summarise the story in their own words or imagine alternate endings.

Puzzle and board games

Play board games, puzzles or card games that encourage strategic thinking, problem-solving and teamwork. These activities also promote social interaction and can be a lot of fun for both children and adults.

Also read: Pinetown-based charity brightens lives of children in need

Cooking/baking together

Involve children in meal preparation or baking sessions. This activity teaches them about measurements and following instructions and encourages creativity. You can also discuss nutrition and the science behind cooking/baking.

Educational apps and websites

Utilise free educational apps or websites that offer interactive learning activities, puzzles, quizzes or educational videos related to various subjects, such as math, science and language arts.

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