Ahh the end of 2020 approaches, and the long awaited school holidays and Christmas period has begun. We’ve all well and truly earned a break this year and we hope you enjoy one! Did you know that the school holidays are packed with opportunities for language learning?

Here are 3 holiday activities full of opportunities, with just a little tweaking:

1. Christmas gifts & cards

  • Before you even head to the shops, have your child help you write the list, talking about ideas while you do. Encourage your child to think of what people like and what might make a nice gift for them.

  • If you’ve done your shopping, have the kids help you wrap or keep the items you’ve purchased in their bags and ask your child guess to guess what’s inside. Try giving clues to help your child work out what you’re planning to buy, or about to wrap up.

e.g. “For your cousin, we’re getting something with lots of little bricks that you can stick together to build a boat” (Lego!) and “For Nanna, we’re getting something made of paper, full of ideas for cooking pasta” (a recipe book!)

  • Writing Christmas cards – have your child come up with their own messages for Christmas cards or Christmas emails. If they’re writing, help them sound out and write down their festive wishes, otherwise have them tell you as you write it down for them.

2. Cooking

If you’re like me, it feels a little more manageable to do some baking over this period, as the pace of life slows a little. Cooking is such a wonderful way to work on language – from concepts, to new vocab, and more! It works with littlies right through to older kids.

You can learn and talk about concepts like: more or less, before and after, first, next, last, until (stir until it changes colour – that means don’t stop until it’s all brown!)

Learn lots of new verbs – measure, mix, stir, combine, fold, whisk, cut, chop, slice, flip, dice!

The list goes on. Cooking is a great way to learn new action verbs as you can demonstrate and act them out, and repeat, repeat, repeat the word!

Practice following instructions – take out three carrots, find me a bowl and a wooden spoon, pass me the cinnamon before you get the eggs etc

3. Sports & games

It’s backyard cricket season! And the cricket and tennis will be around (though maybe with some COVID changes). Maybe your family is more into surfing. Talking about the rules of sporting games, or practising keeping score of a game between siblings, involves lots of opportunities for language practice. Help your child practice giving instructions or explain who is winning.

If you have friends or family over on the break, help your child learn how to explain their favourite board or card game so they can practice giving instructions to someone. Explaining steps and rules is a really important language skill that will come in handy all throughout school and beyond. Think about – what you need, what are the rules, how does play proceed, how do you win etc.

Happy holidays and happy language learning! We’d love to hear some of your favourite language-rich holiday activities as well, just comment below.