Education leaders have put together some fun family activities to encourage children away from computer screens for the half-term holidays.
The move to remote education during lockdown, coupled with dark, winter evenings, has meant many children are spending more time than usual on tablets or laptops.
With the start of the half-term holidays, education leaders in North Yorkshire have come up with some ideas for families wanting to use the holidays for a digital detox.
Barlby Community Primary School, in Barlby near Selby, is encouraging children to take part in Blue Peter activities which involve them completing tasks set by the CBBC programme and then applying for a badge. Children can first apply for a blue badge by sending in interesting letters, stories, makes, pictures and poems and for good ideas for the programme. Once they’ve received a blue badge, they can then apply for a silver badge by taking part in different tasks.
Jillian Baker, Headteacher of Barlby Community Primary School said: “We are hoping the children will complete a task and apply for a Blue Peter Badge this half term break.
“There are eight to achieve and all can be achieved away from the screen. We have many children in school who have already earnt at least one badge if not more, and we have celebrated their success in school.
“Applying for the badge also involves physically going to a post box and posting their letter, rather than emailing.”
Other ideas include:
- Star-gazing. Wrap up warm and head outside to see if you can spot any star constellations, or count the number of stars you can see. Whether this involves setting up a cosy tent in a back garden, or taking a flask of hot chocolate and heading further outdoors away from the glare of streets.
- Spotting the first signs of spring. Turn nature detectives and see if you can find the first snowdrops in woodlands, or by streams, the first shoots of daffodils or bluebells and look for the first fluffy, yellow hazel catkins sprouting.
- Planning an adventure to take place after lockdown. Making plans to visit a special place, or special person.
Headteacher of Mill Hill Primary in Northallerton, Rebecca Bainbridge, said she hoped families could take some time to unwind together this half-term, whether it was by sharing books, playing, cooking or creating; “As we head into half term we hope that our families will take some time to relax and unwind. It has been a hard half term of work commitments, home learning and digital access and I am so impressed with the effort and sheer resilience from everyone.
“We hope that over the next week our families will take the chance to unwind – sharing books and stories, wrapping warmly up for walks, doing the things together which make them laugh and smile, whether it’s cooking, making, playing or creating, and, perhaps just as importantly, planning for all of these wonderful things that we will be able to do together when all of this over.
“The end is in sight and we just want everyone to hang in there while signs of spring appear and a more normal way of life reemerges.”
Cllr Patrick Mulligan, Executive Member for Education and Skills said: “We know the last few weeks have been hard for families, with many trying to juggle working from home and helping children with school work. It’s been especially tough through the dark nights of January and February.
“Schools have tried to balance online learning with off-line activities, but it’s inevitable that lockdown has meant children are spending much more time than they normally would at a computer.
“Encouraging children to spend time away from their laptops and tablets is much easier if you can draw their attention to other fun activities, so I hope parents find our suggestions useful.”
For more ideas on half-term activities for Key Stage 1 children, in lower primary school visit;
Key Stage 2 children; attending upper primary school;
- Blue Peter badge challenges
- February 2021 half term activities for kids | National Trust
- 5 half-term recipes for kids - BBC Good Food
Key Stage 3, lower secondary school age;