When we were little kids, my brother and I used to look forward to summer holidays. Usually, it was a full two months in most parts of South India. Both of us were book worms, and being the voracious readers we were, our parents had no problem in managing us during the summer holidays.
We both learned to read by the age of six because we were products of a strict education system, unlike today where the education system requires children to learn by themselves. And, most kids learn to read by eight or nine.
To make matters simpler for both us and our parents, there was a library just across the street where we used to live. We used to go there together, select our books, return the previous day’s books, pay our dues and come back home with a fresh huge stack to pour over.
The librarian became a great friend of ours. Life and holidays were indeed benevolent. We used to visit our maternal grandparents during part of the holidays, and there too, we became members of the local libraries.
In those days, in our little town in India, the concept of summer camps, summer activities for kids, special fun classes, and the like was still a novelty. And, even if some such classes sprung up in our locality, not many kids garnered enough interest to go over and check them out.
Everyone was more or less satisfied and well pleased with their own thing to do during the holidays. And, we were more than happy that our summer pleasure of reading from morning to bed time was not disturbed. Oh yes, our parents were a lucky lot in this aspect. They never had rambunctious kids at hand.
Ah, and now fast forward to the present day and, it is summer holidays for my son. He will be in the next grade sometime in mid June. I have 2 full months stretching in front of me, and I need to keep him entertained not only in the most educative way, but also with fun things in mind.
So, we got him enrolled for swimming lessons. Here, locally, children are eligible to get lessons in swimming only after the age of five and at some places only after seven. We are lucky we found an academy which was willing to give him lessons, now that he is just over five.
Swimming is a good sport, a healthy exercise for his body, will keep him entertained and also provide mental stimulation for him, I thought. And, he loves water. His antics at the swimming pool are definitely worth a separate blog post; I would refrain from commenting about that now. But, I can’t stop myself from letting you all know that he sure is a handful to the instructors there and also is a pet to them all.
We also do a bit of painting, drawing and coloring at home. We read a lot. We watch a lot of educative Britannica Encyclopedia CDs. We watch things about the Universe, Earth, and Human body over and over again. His innate curiosity is never satiated as far as science and education is concerned.
My son plays with other kids his age for an hour or so in the evening and then with his daddy late into the evening. That’s the best play time for this little boy. Usually, on regular school days, he does not get to stay awake so late. So, this is really a treat for him.
We may perhaps visit his grandparents and then his uncle. We may also visit his aunt and my son’s cousins. There is a lot of extended family around in the same city where we keep visiting now and then. Need I mention here that my son adores his almost ninety year old great-grandmother who lives quite nearby?
Except for swimming, we have not enrolled our son in any other tutored instructed activity, except, of course, he has me, his perennial instructor, lol. I wonder what he would think reading this sentence in his adulthood. I think, I will take it slowly, and let him enjoy his happy peaceful holidays. Let him climb trees, watch the sunset with me, tune in to his favorite Tom and Jerry cartoon for an hour everyday and generally goof around doing happy nothings for a while.
After all, there is his whole life stretching ahead when he may not have many two month-long vacations. And, I also want him to cherish free time, value life, be in tune with nature, and treasure being far away from the maddening crowd.
How do you keep your children occupied for such long stretches such as summer holidays? And, what did you do during your long holiday stretches in your childhood? How is this different for what you do for your child?
Photo credit to Brandt Luke Zorn. This photo has a creative commons attribution license.