Welcome to the second instalment of our Holistic Holidays series! In this edition, we'll be focusing on the physical side of things - getting fit and staying in shape, and maintaining a healthy mind and body, so you can enjoy your entire summer at your best!
When children get bored in the long summer days, parents suffer too. Get prepared early with some fun ideas and resources to survive the summer.
Oh, the summer holidays are around the corner. What most would picture themselves doing is having the time to laze around at the beach and munching on ice cream during the long summer day. Unless you are one of the people who have the title of a parent, then, that is unfortunately not the case for you. You worry about what your children will be up to when school is closed. Will they injure themselves? Pick up bad habits? Get bored?
Here, you can find a comprehensive guide to help your kids have a fun and meaningful summer. And equally important: for you to have a peace of mind so that even without schools, you will survive!
Before the summer holidays start:
Have a plan and stock up resources
While this sounds like a no-brainer, having the right game plan is crucial if you want a peaceful summer. As your work carries on while your children now have all the time in the world to have fun (create troubles), having some resources ready will be essential.
Depending on your child's age and interests, you may consider stocking up resources for them in advance. This will mitigate boredom and its related destructive symptoms, including unnecessary calls and messages, complaints about boredom or requests for new toys and new gadgets.
Do you mean actual books? Yes. Engaging your children with books might sound old. Fact is, they never get old. Reading as the time-proven pass time for children provide many benefits and there are actually many children's books authors consistently producing quality works. If you’re stuck for inspiration on what to buy or borrow, check out the list below:
If your children like nature, animals or frogs, consider this beautifully illustrated book by Owen Davey. 4.5 out of 5 rating on Goodreads.
For your kids who are interested in machines! The younger ones can enjoy the graphics while the older ones can read and learn more about how different machines work.
A children's book that explores the meaning of friendship in times of uncertainty. From Wendy Meddour to your little ones' gentle hearts. 4.48/5 Goodreads rating.
4.66/5 rating on Goodreads, this book by Vashti Hardy is an enjoyable read with a mix of fantasy, science fiction, school stories, and what it means to love and to lose.
The detective duo is out to solve another case this summer holiday. Rated 4.43 out of 5 on Goodreads, this young adult fiction by Sharna Jackson brings your children to a mystery adventure.
4.36 average rating on Goodreads, this tale by bestselling author Sarah Rees Brennan is about friendship, falling in love and diplomacy.
The second of The Dundoodle Mysteries by David O'Connell, this book is a must-read for the curious who love ghosts, monsters, and marshmallows.
Educational toys and gifts
Butterfly Garden is a best-seller on Amazon. Let your kids raise some butterflies and discover wonders of nature this summer.
For the young detectives:
Master detective toolkit has a majority customers rate 5 stars on Amazon. It allows your young detectives to learn the tools, understand forensic science and experiment hands-on. Solve some mysteries in this long summer break.
For the little musicians:
Enjoy some music created by your little ones this summer with this tambourine set!
For Generation Tech:
For your children who grow up being surrounded by the Internet and mobile devices, what is better than a toy that teaches the very foundation of coding - unplugged. Find more unplugged coding activities for kids here.
Having the resources ready to entertain your children's curiosity is only part of the summer plan. A right mindset is equally crucial. If you have not heard of mindfulness or mindful parenting, now is a perfect time to start knowing more about it!
The essence of it is about being in touch with feelings when interacting with your kids. Take note of how both you and your children are feeling even when there is tension or conflict. A lot of times, when children misbehave: yelling on the streets or crying out loud on the train, we see the parents get angry and raise their voice too. However, mindful parenting offers us a more effective and sustainable alternative. It goes down to understanding the reasons behind your kids' tantrums. As children's cognition is still developing, so are their emotional regulation ability. When they fail to handle the intensity of their emotions, they may burst out and throw a tantrum. To set a good example, parents should be calm. This will demonstrate to your children that with practice, they too can control their own emotions. Besides, it prevents further escalation of the tension.
However, when your kids are yelling and everyone else around you are staring, it isn't the easiest time to remain calm. Mindful parenting provides us with some tips at this time of need.
- Notice your own feelings
- Pause before reacting in anger
- Listen carefully to your child's viewpoint even when you disagree
Talk with your kid on how they want to spend their summer holidays. While it is tempting to ask "What's your summer plan?" and leave the rest to your child, it might not be effective especially if they are still young. If you are stuck, here are some useful questions to get you started.
- What were the three things you wanted to try during school term but didn't have enough time?
- What are the three things you wish to do as a family during this summer holidays?
- To have an ideal summer holiday, what is one thing that you will be doing everyday?
During summer holidays:
Catch a movie
Capture good memories
1. Bullet journal
2. Art journal
3. Video logging
Near the end
If things go according to plans, you will be celebrating the reopening of schools at this point. But we all know they often don't. So to give the summer holidays some closure, try some of the ideas below:
- Vote the best photos from the summer as a family and print them out. Create an album the good old way.
- If you took videos, view them together on a weekend night.
- Write a review for the summer holidays
For more resources for the summer holiday, check out:
Like our A Complete Guide For Parents To Survive The Summer Holidays -- For more resources for parents:
- How to improve executive functioning skills in children with games
- What is computer science and how to make kids love it
Kaminsky, M. S. (2010). Naked Lens - Video Blogging and Video Journaling to Reclaim the YOU in YouTube: How to Use Online Video to Increase Self Expression, Enhance Creativity, and Join the Video Regeneration. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=grhR1eYswPkC
Mindful Parenting: How to Respond Instead of React by Parent Co. on October 6, 2017. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/mindful-parenting-how-to-respond-instead-of-react/
School’s out! Summer holidays ahoy! For the Potato Pirates crew, Summer not only means even more Sun, Sea, and Sand; it's also a great time to promote learning through fun and engaging activities, with many wonderful opportunities to create amazing memories as a family. However, with a holiday break as long as this, we're sure some of you might be worried about the times your kids start feeling bored or spend too much time in front of a screen - whether it be the computer, or the TV (we quite dislike that!)
Fret not - the crew of the S.S. Megachip has put together a comprehensive list of tuber-awesome things you can do together with your family that are not only fun but also holistically wholesome, where kids have the opportunity to hone their skills and assimilate life values. These are steps you can take to help your child to become a lifelong learner, maker, and creator and not just any passive consumer.
This is the 1st of a 4-part series that we have prepared for your child and family. This week, we explore activities that celebrate the beauty of the outdoors, experiencing new things, and appreciating nature. We hope to keep you and your kids' holidays productive and fruitful through these new experiences. Onward!
1. Cultivating green fingers through terrariums
One great way to get your kids interested in nature is to teach them to raise their own plants and later on, they can even explore growing their own food.
A terrarium is the perfect way to introduce greenery anywhere in your home, even if you’re strapped for space. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to educate your child on a basic ecosystem and how water cycles work, as well as providing something for them to relax their eyes. This is a great way to get kids started especially since pre-packed kits are readily available, along with a dizzying array of containers - meaning your child can make the terrarium to their liking. The components are easily customizable and your child will have fun learning about the different kinds of plants that can thrive in a terrarium.
There are two main types of terrariums - open, and closed.
An open terrarium is not enclosed, which allows water to evaporate from the container and requires more maintenance, such as being watered every other day (which can cultivate a sense of responsibility for your child.)
A closed terrarium is a self-contained ecosystem, and generally doesn't require much maintenance once it's created, meaning it can be left to its own devices for weeks at a time without any watering. However, not every type of plant can thrive in such a terrarium.
2. Advanced Green Fingers: Growing your own food
With modern technology and agricultural methods, you no longer need a huge plot of land to grow veggies for your own consumption - even if you live in an apartment, you can still grow a variety of edible plants! Of course it'd be biased if we only promoted cultivation of potatoes. You can even grow your own mushrooms using laundry baskets, if you so desire. Microgreens are also beginner friendly, and readily available in kits from Amazon. Bon appetit has a great article that gives the basics of growing vegetables in a small space.
Summer’s the perfect time to go outdoors and get some sun! Geocaching is basically a huge scavenger hunt, with "caches" hidden all over the world. Simply download the GeoCache app and begin hunting! When you find a cache, you can sign the logbook to let others know you've been there, and even leave a trinket for the next GeoCacher. It's a great way to explore your neighbourhood together.
4. Stargazing and astronomy
Nightfall doesn't mean that you can't see the beauty of the great outdoors - you just have to look somewhere else, like up above. Get started with backyard astronomy, and hone your skills with the help of these tips from Mentalfloss.
When you're feeling adventurous, check out these beautiful stargazing locations from around the world. Not only does this expand children’s knowledge on astronomy, it also allows them to comprehend the vastness of the cosmos, galaxy and universe - encouraging them to ponder on concepts and things larger than themselves.
Did you know?
There are more stars in the known universe than there are grains of sand on Earth. Seems impossible doesn't it? There are an estimated 100 billion (yes billion with a B) galaxies, each containing 100 to 400 billion (there's that word again) stars. This would be a great juncture for you and your children to explore Fermi's Paradox.
One of the most fulfilling things you can do together as a family is volunteer at a local shelter or home, and give back to your community. If you're an animal-lover, volunteer at your local animal or pet shelter; or help out at your local soup kitchen. It's a great way to teach your kids compassion and empathy, as well as helping those in need.
There are many benefits of volunteering. Social skills are developed through social situations and social interaction. The young generation today could definitely do with more face-to-face interaction.
Schools put a lot of emphasis on inculcating responsibility, leadership, a sense of initiative, communication and organisation skills among other soft-skills in their students. In the confines of the classroom, these skills are not the easiest to foster. Volunteering ensures kids learn these virtues by being in the midst of the action; not just that, it allows for children to learn from one another.
6. Learn to swim
Summer's one of the best seasons to go swimming! Be it in pools, streams, lakes or the beach; it's a great way to cool off. Besides being a great form of exercise which works out the whole body, swimming is also an important survival skill and can save your child's life, as drowning is one of the most common occurrences in accidental loss of life. Not only that, being able to swim also allows your child the freedom to engage in various water-sports such as kayaking, canoeing, and surfing, to name a few.
Did you know?
7. Adventure Camps
It's a perfect opportunity to get your kids out to engage in activities they wouldn't normally find themselves doing － connecting with nature. No matter where you live, there's bound to be something for your child.
Adventure camp activities aren't a walk in the park; they can be mentally and physically challenging. However, trained camp instructors and facilitators are always there to help your children get out of their comfort zone and overcome their fears. The tasks and activities are designed to teach them important values such as determination, responsibility and lifelong skills like teamwork and communication.
Being in an unfamiliar environment without refuge helps children learn to be more independent. It provides a good opportunity for them to reflect on their lifestyle to better appreciate the things they usually take for granted back at home. You may be slightly worried about their safety and miss them at first, but seeing their transformation and growth will be the best reward for that sacrifice.
The benefits are innumerable - from developing new skills to forging new friendships, from becoming independent to experiencing holistic growth. Having conducted many holiday day-camps for kids aged 4 to 12 in the past, the Potato Pirates Crew encourages all families to let your kids experience great fun and great learning this summer!
This website is a great resource for finding camps in your area if you're in the USA. Also, try these other websites:
Australia: Aussie Summer Camps
South Africa: Sugar Bay Camp
That's all for now!
Look out for Part 2 coming out next week!
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Is knowing this even important?
Understanding and identifying your parenting style can help you discover the possible effects it may have on your child. As a parent, you probably want to bring your child up in a way you think best nurtures the values you want them to have. Although you might be giving it your all trying to raise them well, it's tough to know if you've checked all the right boxes till they actually grow up. That's where knowing how different parenting styles accentuate different behaviours and habits in children comes into the picture. The better you can utilise various styles based on the outcome you want, the more likely you'll see your desired end result. Equally as important is the fact that each child is unique and just like how the education system isn't one size fits all, parenting style shouldn't be either. So it's imperative for parents to be self aware and identify what your child needs to help them grow in a holistically enriching environment.
One of the greatest titles in the world is parent, and one of the biggest blessings in the world is to have parents to call mom and dad.
- Jim DeMint
Now that you know which Potato Pirate Parent you are, here are the various activities and games you can play with your kids to further foster a nurturing relationship with them.
Quartermaster Maris Piper
Authoritarian Parenting Style:
The authoritarian parent tends to keep a tighter hold on their children, creating lots of structure and rules for them to follow. You prefer to make the decisions for your child, believe you should have the final say in all matters and don't need to explain your decisions to anyone. While you can ensure the safety of your child with this parenting style, it may come with some unintended effects. According to research, children with authoritarian parents may become hostile or aggressive possibly because they lack the avenue to express themselves. This parenting style has also been associated with kids having low self esteem, being good liars and not being able to make rational decisions.
Want to bridge the gaps in your relationship? Trying some of these games might just do the trick:
Human Knot Icebreaker (Ideal for 4 or more players)
To play, first get all players to stand in a circle with outstretched arms. Then each player holds onto 2 other people's hands, avoiding the hands of those directly on either side of them. The aim of the game is to untangle all the human arm knots by twisting, turning, going over and under each others' arms without letting go of any hands.
While playing, try to take a back seat and follow the directions your kid provides so they can gain confidence in speaking up and presenting their ideas. Or, you could talk your child through your thought process to aid their understanding of the reasons behind your suggestion. That would help teach them how to rationalise when making decisions. Continuing to set up such interactions could create a less stressful environment for open communication.
Captain: Potato King VII
Authoritative Parenting Style:
The authoritative parent tends to be warmer and more responsive to their children. And although they do set rules and structure for their children, they do it in greater moderation and provide explanations for their decisions to do so. You believe that your child learns and cooperates best when you reason with them so that you can see eye to eye more easily. You encourage your child to communicate openly with you and that has been considered most effective in building a balanced relationship.
We know threading that fine line between being too strict and too much like a friend is a tough job! So these games might help you maintain that balance:
Pong Tac Toe (Ideal for 2 or more players)
This game requires just an egg tray and a pack of plastic balls/anything that you can use to replace ping pong balls. Simply set up the tray and blindfold the player who is tossing the balls. The tosser will be positioned 2 arms length from the tray. The other player will give the blindfolded tosser instructions to make a successful shot. Within a time limit of 60 seconds, both players compete to see who scores more points (the score player 1 gets is the amount of shots player 2 scores when player 1 is giving directions).
Active communication will be essential throughout the duration of the game. So this boosts confidence in speaking to each other and being able to accept and follow the directions being given by either party. The competitive aspect of this will not only get their adrenaline pumping but allow both players to interact as friends would. Get your playful side out and indulge in a little healthy competition!
Permissive Parenting Style:
The permissive parent is often lenient and only steps in when there are severe issues. You champion open communication and it shows when you encourage your children to confide in you. You are almost as close to your child as they are to their best friend. Rules and restrictions also aren't your priority, and you let your child decide almost everything for themselves. However, giving too much freedom to your child may lead to them overlooking authority.
Having a couple more no's could provide the structure that your child needs. Here are some suggestions to encourage that.
Coding games like Potato Pirates are a great way to connect with your kids . Besides spending quality time with your kid, it also gives you the chance to be more firm when reminding them to stick to the rules of the game if they try to cut corners.
Plus, given the nature of coding, the specific order and logic that must be followed to achieve a comprehensive result will reinforce the need to stick to guidelines. This teaches them that even if it is just a game, there are still standards that should not be compromised. Show them that following guidelines in seemingly insignificant situations is as important as following them in more significant occasions.
The Russet Minions
Uninvolved Parenting Style:
The uninvolved parent is often occupied with work, household demands and paying bills. They tend to have little knowledge of what their child is doing and their whereabouts. The child may struggle with self-esteem issues and perform poorly in school as a result of the detached relationship.
Fret not, it's not all grey skies ahead! Here are several things you can try to better your relationship with your child:
Volunteer at a Mission
Volunteering not only opens your child up to an enriching experience but also enables you to connect with your child on a level typically not achievable in day to day life. When thrown into an unfamiliar environment, it makes each party that much more dependent on each other for support and company.
Steering through this new adventure together could be the turning point of your relationship as both of you enter the situation with the same knowledge and learn on the same plane. It exemplifies to your child what you stand for and gives you the chance to communicate with your child socially and emotionally. Research has shown that volunteering alongside your family members strengthens bonds so step out of the norm to get a couple of days off work for a short mission trip.
This would be a great way to connect with your child while doing something fun. Some examples are Battleship, Monopoly and Risk. Such games involve communication plus they provide a common topic or area of interest that can become conversation starters for you. Games like these are awesome as you will have to work closely with your child to reach the end. Don't be afraid to battle it out to the end and spur some competition!
If there's someone who should know about these activities, share this with them!
Potato Pirates — Enter the Spudnet is a board game inspired by how the Internet works. It's perfect for family bonding and learning the Internet together. Dispatch ships, fulfill orders and dodge cyber-attacks while learning a thing or two about network and cybersecurity. Pre-order on our website.