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Something different for this summer break

As the fortnight of late night study sessions, cramming and revising, that go hand in hand with the word 'exams', come to an end, your children can't wait for the long summer vacation ahead. Weeks of relaxation and no pressure from studies or homework are indeed a much deserved break for them. But what of the long afternoon hours they will keep tugging at your sleeves and complaining of boredom or whining to take them out for some 'fun'? Of course you do like to see your children enjoying some time off from studies, and of course you would love to take them to amusement parks and enjoy cotton candy together along with endless giggles, but then you aren't always perfect in juggling dexterously between work, household chores and meeting the children's demands, are you? And then, no matter how much you would like to take them traveling across the country or abroad, sometimes it's just impossible to break free of the shackles of everyday work. If you are wondering how to keep your children busy and entertained simultaneously during the upcoming vacation, here are a few tips that might come to your aid:

Vacations are always a good time to engage in some extracurricular activities, since the little scholars are too busy doing homework or preparing for tests during the schooldays. Getting your kids enrolled in some extracurricular classes of their choice might be a good idea. You can let them choose from a long list of art, music, dance and martial art classes. Learning musical instruments like piano or guitar may keep your children busy and excited with their newfound pastime. The young 'Rambo's in the house may like to try out their knack for karate or tae kwon do, while art classes can unlock the latent potential in your resident Michelangelo! But always remember to make sure whether your child has interest in that particular activity, or else the classes will be of no use.

'Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body' quoted Joseph Addison, the English poet and essayist. Introduce your children to the fascinating world of books this vacation! Take them to the book shops and let them choose the books of their choice, intervening only to make sure the books are appropriate for their level of understanding and maturity.

Young minds have an inherent knack for learning new languages. While English and Bangla are already taught at all schools, why not teach your offspring a third language during these holidays? Different language schools are sprawled all over Dhaka, so you won't have to go through much trouble trying to spot one. Spanish, French or Chinese can be good choices. For the kids, this will be an achievement they can brag about when school reopens, while you yourself might be able to pick up a few words from them!

Indoor games have always been counted in the list of favorite amusement activities among children. While games like Monopoly and Scrabble have always remained at the top of the list of indoor games, encourage your children to try out less common games like Domino, Cluedo or Yahtzee. Solving jigsaw puzzles are also a good pastime that adds to your children's IQ. Whenever you get free time on weekends, you can take the time to prepare your very own indoor game! It might be like a treasure hunt where the children have to look for clues and follow them, which will ultimately lead them to a 'treasure' such as a scrumptious chocolate cake or big bar of chocolate!

The art of cooking is a skill that is essential to all and enjoyable to many. Many children have the eagerness and patience needed to learn to cook, so if your child seems to have some interest in cooking or baking, try giving them some basic lessons during your free time. Baking a batch of chocolate chips or blending a fruit smoothie together to enjoy lying side by side in reclining chairs on the verandah can spice up an otherwise boring afternoon!

'Go Green' is the new mantra around the block. Take the time to introduce your child to this concept this very summer break. Teach them to reduce, reuse and recycle, and trust me when I say it's not all that complicated! Children love to drink fizzy drinks in PET bottles, no matter how often you warn them against the harmful effects of carbonated water, so why not use this opportunity to teach them some lessons about environment friendly behaviour? The PET bottles can be cut up in halves and then painted in vibrant acrylic or poster colors to transform them into little pots for plants that can be displayed in the windowsills. Not only will this teach your children to be more environmentally aware, but will also encourage them to get their creative juices flowing!

School annual functions are always major events in children's lives since they give them the chance to display their talents in front of a large crowd. You can take the initiative of arranging your very own function at home where you can invite some friends of your children along with their parents where the children can perform songs, dance routines or plays of their choice while the parents can sit back and feel proud of their little jewels. Of course, the children will need a few days of rehearsal prior to the big day which can be arranged at a different child's house every day, so that no one family has to bear the burden of looking after a house full of super-exuberant kids.

Along with these, you can arrange T-shirt painting weekends, or movie and popcorn afternoons or lazy swims at the local pool. Try to incorporate physical activities like running in an open park or cycling around the neighbourhood into the vacation activities, since children need some exercise to keep fit. And whatever you do, remember that your children want to spend time with you, something that they don't get to do too much when they are caught up in school work and tuition classes. So the vacations are the perfect time to spend some happy hours with the kids. It's not the quantity that matters, but quality time spent with your children can help weave an everlasting bond of trust and understanding between you and your offspring. And most importantly, let 'fun' be the governing word in all activities, because that's what vacations are supposed to be!

By Wasia Mehnaz
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed


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