With the September school holidays right around the corner, you may be cracking your brains thinking about how best to keep the kids occupied and reduce screen time at home.
Jus Students, a dedicated homegrown, after-school care service has come up with five nature-related activities to bring fun to learning while building up 21st Century competencies in children. The centre has developed a range of simple yet meaningful activities that parents can conduct with their children to nurture their interest in learning while encouraging creativity and imaginative thinking.
- Scavenger Hunt at UNESCO World Heritage Site Singapore Botanic Gardens
Parents can bring their children for a field trip to explore the only tropical botanic garden in the world that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once they are in the garden, parents can engage their kids in a scavenger hunt where the mission is to simply collect as many leaves from different varieties, shapes and sizes.
Through this interactive activity, children will get to recognize and learn about the different types of plants. Parents can explain how these special characteristics will help these plants adapt and survive in the environment.
- How Tall is This Tree? Measuring A Tree’s Height
For curious kids who have always wondered how tall a tree can grow up to? Parents can solve this enigma by working with their children and measuring the height of a tree with the use of a stick and a measuring tape. Before beginning this exercise, parents should measure the length of their foot and the stick that they’ve selected. Once they have chosen a tree to be measured, either parent or child can choose to stand near the base of the tree while holding on to the measuring tape.
The person selected to walk away from the tree will hold the stick straight by its base and vertically at arm’s length. He/She will walk backwards until the bottom and top of the stick line up with the top and bottom of the tree.
Once they’ve stopped, the person from the tree base should walk towards their partner and count the number of steps taken to reach the partner’s location. The number of steps is recorded, and multiplied by the foot measurement. This will give the estimated height of the tree, and solve the question of “How tall is that tree?”.
- DIY Pressed-Leaf Bookmark (Bonus: Writing a poem)
After the leaves have been collected, parents can encourage their children to select their favourite leaf which can then be made into a pressed-leaf bookmark. Parents will only have to place the leaves within a thick and heavy book for at least 2 days. Once they are sufficiently dry and flat, parents can help by using scissors and cutting 2 bookmark-shaped strips of clear contact paper and sandwiching the leaf between the two pieces for the end result.
Once the bookmark is complete, as a bonus, parents can teach their kids how to write a meaningful cinquain poem to reflect on their trip to the botanical garden.
- Creating Unbe-leaf-able Prints
For the remaining leaves that weren’t picked for the bookmark activity, parents can introduce this exciting art print activity to bring out their child’s inner Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh. Get ready to be messy as the children only have to soak their leaves in paint and create their unique masterpieces on their art paper. Parents can showcase the finished paintings at home akin to a mini art gallery.
- Brushing Up on Chinese Idioms and Characters
While enjoying nature-inspired activities, parents can introduce their children to Chinese idioms and ancient Chinese characters that have a relation to nature. Parents can execute this activity in the form of blended learning where they can use learning clips from YouTube along with activities to guide their children in illustrating the meaning of certain Chinese characters.
Reginea Ang, Curriculum Director of Jus Students after-school centre, encourages parents to incorporate 21st Century competencies when interacting with their children.
Jus Students has carefully curated its curriculum in an international learning environment while aligned with MOE guidelines to ensure that children will look forward to learning in an enjoyable manner.