english primary teacher

How to practise English during school holidays

If your child wants to improve their English, they need to practise, practise, practise! Learning ‘little and often’ is more effective than occasionally studying hard.

Encourage your child to do one of our short activities every day. We have lots of free, online activities for younger children and teenagers.

The holidays are also a chance for children to practise the things they learned in school and use them in real-life situations. Educational days out are a fun way to learn and spend time together.

Plan a trip

Ask your child what they enjoyed doing in school. What would they like to learn more about? You could have a different theme each week: dinosaurs, trains, castles, space travel, endangered animals, the water cycle.

Learning tip

At the start of the holidays, encourage your child to make a wish-book. Ask them to put in pictures of things they’d like to do and add labels. Older children could add more details, such as:

  • Why do you want to visit?
  • When is it open?
  • How much does it cost?

Go to the library

Before your day out, encourage your child to read a book related to your theme. If your trip involves a long journey, they might also enjoy listening to an audiobook.

Learning tip

Listen to an audiobook and play a fun game. Ask your child to think of sound effects or actions for certain words. Whenever you hear the word, you must all make the sound or action.

Send a postcard

After your day out, ask your child to write a postcard in English. This practises useful writing skills, such as giving descriptions and expressing opinions.

Learning tip for 5–12 year olds

Encourage your child and their friends to send postcards to each other. It’s important to have real reasons to communicate in English. Ask your child’s school to join Cambridge English Penfriends. Your child can make friends and share postcards with other English learners around the world.

Learning tip for 13–18 year olds

Encourage your child to type their postcard message into Cambridge English Write & Improve. They will receive instant, free feedback, which they can use to improve their writing.

Make a holiday journal

After your trip, make time to reflect on the day. Your child will learn and remember more by recording what they did.

Learning tip for 5–12 year olds

Ask your child to collect holiday ‘souvenirs’: cinema tickets, shells from the beach, photographs, flowers. Ask them to write captions for each item. Ask them to create their own exhibition at the end of the holidays. For example, the exhibition could display their favourite photographs and treasures from their holiday.

Learning tip for 13–18 year olds 

Let your child choose how to record what they’ve done during the holidays. For example, they could write a blog or film themselves talking about their holiday.

Have an indoors holiday

If you have bad weather, no transport or you don’t have many places to visit, have an ‘imagination holiday’ at home. Encourage your child to find out about holiday traditions in other countries such as Anzac Day (Australia), Carnival (Brazil), Holi, the festival of colours (India), Lantern Festival (China) and Mardi Gras (France/USA).

Learning tip for 5–12 year olds 

Look up a recipe in English and make some American pancakes or French crêpes.

Learning tip for 13–18 year olds 

Invite some friends over for a ‘themed’ party with food, decorations and music from a chosen country. For example, have a traditional English garden party with ‘afternoon tea’.

(By Cambridge English Parent Support)

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