The school summer holidays are here, and whilst it’s perhaps an opportunity for parents to relax the home-schooling rules and give children a break from their school learning, whether they’ve been back to school or not, it’s also a great time to educate your kids about energy and power — and have fun doing it too.
Children learn well through play and interactive exploration, so it's the perfect opportunity to experiment and try out some new activities that the whole family can get involved in.
Ready to get started? Summer school is officially in session! Here are five easy ways to help your kids learn about energy and create fun memories along the way.
1. Give each week a new theme
Kids can get overwhelmed if you throw too much information at them all at once. That's why it's a good idea to choose one concept to focus on each week or fortnight, depending on how quickly your kids learn.
For example, you could designate one week as 'Electricity Week' and another as 'Saving Energy Week.' Then you can organise games, lesson plans, and experiments according to the specific theme for the week.
2. Do experiments around the house
Household and garden experiments are a great way for kids to learn about concepts like renewable power, insulation, and other aspects related to energysaving. Depending on your kids' ages, you can set up experiments for them or give them ideas and let them take the lead.
An experiment can be as simple as rubbing a balloon against someone's head to demonstrate static electricity, or as complex as building your own magnet. Here are a few suggestions for easy, fun experiments according to age:
For five to 11-year-olds
· Create your own lightning
· Build a self-propelled vehicle
· Make your own ice box
For 12 to 18-year-olds
· Try making music with electronic synthesisers
· Prevent energy from escaping the home
· Build your own electric circuit
3. Make a game of it
Few things are more exciting for kids than games, especially ones with prizes at the end. To teach kids how important it is to save water and reduce energy use, try making a game of turning off energy-sucking devices throughout the house or collecting rainwater in the garden.
Another idea is to make your own deck of cards with images or words related to energy and power. Depending on your kids' comprehension level, you could draw pictures relating to saving energy or spell out words like electricity and insulation. From there, you can devise your own version of 'Go Fish' or 'Old Maid' with the cards you create.
If your kids do well with incentives, consider offering fun rewards for winning or making progress in the game.
4. Do home improvement projects together
Taking on a challenge or project isn't just a chance for kids to learn, it's also an opportunity to develop important life skills, like cooperation, patience, and hard work. Ask your kids to help you with a home improvement project that corresponds to the week's education theme.
If you're learning about water and energy use, you could go through the house and teach your kids how to install aerators on taps in the kitchen and bathroom sinks. On the other hand, if you're learning about power, you could ask your kids to help you switch out your standard light bulbs for more energy efficient models.
5. Host a family teaching night
One of the best ways for kids to understand a tricky topic is by explaining it to someone else. Pick one night a week or month and designate it as family teaching night.
Make a meal together, set up chairs and a chalkboard to recreate a classroom setting, then ask your child to teach the rest of the family what they learned. They can explain a simple concept, demonstrate an experiment, draw pictures, or ask the class questions.
To help your kids stay interested, aim to keep the atmosphere light and pressure-free. If your kids are comfortable sharing their discoveries with the family, they'll be more excited to continue learning throughout the summer.
Teaching kids about energy and power doesn't have to be tedious or challenging. By meeting kids at their level, introducing games, and encouraging experiments, you can make learning fun and impactful.