Mellow Mummy: Educational but fun Kids TV ideas for the summer #StreamTeam : Taking life as it comes...

Monday 21 July 2014

Educational but fun Kids TV ideas for the summer #StreamTeam

This time last year I didn't really understand the worries that some Mums have about keeping your little ones learning over the long summer holiday. Now, as Lara approaches the end of her foundation reception year at school, I'm certainly aware that there is a long 6 week holiday approaching and I'm interested to see how her reading, writing and maths skills fare over the summer without the additional support and inspiration that school provides. This month, the Netfix Stream Team were challenged to find some educational yet fun viewing options available to stream through Netflix that might help continue our children's learning over the summer holidays.

Watching Netflix from the iPad mini

Our summer holiday is likely to be spent doing a mixture of things - a couple of weeks of holiday club, a couple of exciting family weeks away exploring the UK and a few fun days out. But in among that I'm hoping to save a little money and do some creative and crafty activities at home so yes, we may chill out in front of the TV for a little while as well.

Netflix inspired us with a fun activity that I think Lara will really take to - story starters. The idea of the game is that you roll a collection of dice that feature lots of different pictures. Whichever pictures are face up when the dice come to a standstill become the characters and theme for a story that you must tell, or write. This is a wonderful game for younger children as it doesn't require them to be able to read or write but it is just as suitable for older children too who would enjoy the challenge of a tricky combination of pictures. For us, story starters is a good way of encouraging Lara to do some writing during the holidays as she likes to have a good reason to write!

Since we started our Netflix subscription, both Lara (5) and Holly (2) have seen a lot wider range of TV programmes. While I love CBeebies, I do sometimes find the programming a bit limited, especially at the times of day when we are home. I've really enjoyed introducing Holly to some of the pre-school programmes such as Dora the Explorer or Bubble Guppies because I can instantly see her learning new words and phrases. Bubble Guppies is a particularly interesting programme because Lara also learns a lot from each show which has a different theme - the human body, healthy eating, the farm, musical instruments, celebrations and so much more. Each episode features at least one catchy song on the theme, a few quizzes (that both girls now shout the answers to) and stretches of 'role play' which pass on the educational theme. When it gets to the end of the programme, I really feel that Lara has taken new knowledge away with her... a bit like I would do from a documentary.


Dora the Explorer is another family favourite. We missed her when we didn't have satellite TV and it is great to have Dora back! Dora is single-handedly responsible for Lara's interest in foreign languages because each episode features a handful of Spanish phrases including counting and colours. Dora's stories are very repetitive and I think this helps at a young age. Lara's favourite part of every Dora episode is "The map" so this week we decided to make our own maps in the style of Dora's map. This was a great creative activity that both girls could invest as much or as little time in as they liked. I think it would make a brilliant summer holiday activity, especially if you use the map afterwards for your own explorations.

Take your home-made map out for a walk around your local streets to see if you can find your final destination.  On your travels you can look out for birds and mini beasts as well as flowers and leaves of different colours and shapes.  You'll be surprised how many different natural shapes can be found on your own doorstep.

My two little explorers

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