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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