IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


School holiday ideas

Suggestions include real life learning activities, independence and getting ready for the return to school.

Mother and daughter preparing food together. Image: August de Richelie via Pexels

After an unprecedented and chaotic school year, the summer is finally upon us.

Many parents will be considering whether to spend the next few weeks trying to return to a sense of normality, or whether the holidays should be used as an opportunity to catch up on the vital work missed. 

Whilst there is no right or wrong answer here and much will depend on individual home and family circumstance, it may be possible to do both.

Real life learning activities

There are lots of day to day activities you’ll be able to do at home with your children that will support their learning. Shopping, cooking and gardening together all provide rich opportunity, see:


One of the most important things you can turn to over the summer holidays is arguably, independence. Being able to plan and problem solve independently, without immediately asking for assistance will be invaluable as pupils return to unfamiliar surroundings in September.

Whilst the temptation to ‘jump’ in to help is great, consider responses such as:

  • ‘What do you think you could do?’
  • ‘Can you remember how you did it last time?’
  • ‘What might help you?’
  • ‘What could you use to find out?’ 

Getting ready for the return to school

Whilst many children will be excited to get back to school, there is also likely to be much anxiety around returning after such a long period of absence.

Prepare early and consider:

  • rehearsing routines
  • reconnecting with friends
  • the use of visuals to show new teachers and classrooms
  • practising the journey to school - how might this look different? 
  • checking off any work missed during lockdown may help to ease anxiety.


A wealth of summer holiday ideas and activities for children of all ages:

Lots of summer ideas for getting families out and about on their bikes:

Some local authorities are organising summer camps and activities for eligible families:

  • check on your local website. 

Online and zoom art tutorials for pupils of all ages:

Advice and support for the challenges of summer holidays:

Advice on preparing for the summer holidays for children with autism: