5 activities to help students practice English over holidays

Pearson Languages
A overhead shot of a child holding a map and looking at it

Practicing English is a thing that ideally needs to be kept up with regularly, and when school breaks up for the holidays, it's easy for what’s been learnt to be forgotten. This phenomenon is called summer learning loss, and it’s something that affects students of every age and stage.

So, how can you encourage your students or children to keep practicing their language skills over the holidays? There are apps and online activities –but the school holidays are a good opportunity for young learners to disconnect and enjoy some time offline. So here are some activities to suggest to them. There are no screens in sight, and the whole family can enjoy practicing English together:

Go on a nature walk

Get them out into the fresh air with nature spotting. Make a list of things for your students/children to find in their garden or local park. You can keep the list simple for younger learners, with things like trees, grass or flowers, linking them to colors or numbers. For older learners, you can make the search a bit more challenging by including specific species of tree, flower or insect.

This offline activity reinforces the links between English and the natural world. It helps to build children’s observational skills and builds their natural vocabulary along with their gross motor skills. What’s more, multiple studies have shown that spending time in nature is enormously beneficial for children, restoring their attention, reducing their stress and helping them to become more creative and engaged in learning.

Follow a recipe

For this activity, choose a recipe that you think your students/children will enjoy making.

Cakes or cookies are popular choices – most young learners have a sweet tooth! Then, with their parents or caregiver, they can make a shopping list of the ingredients they need, buy them from the supermarket, and then follow the recipe steps.

This type of offline activity helps young learners use their English in a practical way. It will develop their vocabulary and link their English language skills to other skills like math and science. Following a recipe from start to finish teaches children how to follow instructions and problem solve. It also builds their fine motor skills as they pour, stir and chop. They’ll get a considerable boost to their confidence when they take their cake out of the oven – and they’ll be able to share that success with their family and friends. After all, nearly everyone likes cake!

Read a story

Reading has numerous benefits for children (and adults too). It is good for building vocabulary, developing creativity and promoting empathy. What’s more, reading has been shown to reduce stress levels dramatically. It’s the perfect antidote to too much screen time and a good way for learners to maintain their English level over the holidays. But it’s essential to ensure the text's level is correct. If it’s too difficult, they will be frustrated and put off. It’s crucial for reading to be enjoyable!

Older learners can read independently, but you can also suggest some books to read with parents/caregivers. Reading aloud together is a really positive way for adults and children to spend time together. It positively impacts children’s self-esteem and builds good associations with reading, hopefully encouraging them to become independent readers.

Learn how to read a map

This activity involves a little bit of preparation– but it’s a fun activity and gets children outdoors and away from screens! Open up local maps, and have children select somewhere they’d like to visit. Then, they can create a navigation guide in English, building on their vocabulary of directions and surroundings to describe the route.

Learning how to read a map and follow directions is an excellent cognitive and physical exercise. It helps young learners to solve problems and builds their decision-making and observational skills.

Do some experiments

Suggest some DIY science experiments to do at home. Just like the recipe challenge, learners will need to make a list of the materials they’ll need and gather all the experiment components before setting everything up. Then, they will follow the instructions in English and see how their experiments turn out!

Science experiments are a great way to nurture children’s intellectual curiosity and develop critical thinking skills. It also encourages learners to solve problems and analyze results. Who knows, you could even be planting the seed of a STEM career in future years!

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    What is a learning management system?

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    The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training. 

    This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management. 

    Who uses LMS's and why? 

    There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms: 

    • HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit

    • Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler 

    • Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations 

    • Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms. 

    • Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning. 

    • Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students 

    • Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause 

    Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's. 

    Who has access to LMS's?

    In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.  

    Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.

    On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.

    However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher. 

    Key features in modern LMS's

    There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include: 

    • Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses

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    • Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys

    • A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses

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    • Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain 

    • Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets 

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    • Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go 

    • Integrations with other internal systems and software 

    This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.

    The benefits of using learning management systems

    Saving time and money

    First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training. 

    Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort. 

    Ensuring compliance training is completed

    These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training. 

    Provide accurate data

    Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.

    Improves the learning experience

    Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated. 

    Simplifying communication

    Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.