10 things your should do this summer

Depending on which part of the country you live in, summer holidays have already started, or are just around the corner. Many of you may have vacation plans to visit family and friends either in India or outside the country. Travel and holiday homework aside, the long hot summer days are the best time to learn new stuff and pick up new skills. Here are some ideas to get you going.

#1 Cook up a storm

No dainty desserts or colourful cup cakes please – we are talking serious cooking here. This vacation, if you are 9-10 years or older, make it a mission to master one dish that features regularly on the family dining table. It could be pasta, noodles or even South Indian rasam! Learn the recipe, watch the family’s master chef and practice, practice till you can get that one dish absolutely right. Younger cooks can aim to master one grown up dessert like a trifle with store bought sponge or ice cream that does not require use of the stove.

#2 Master the tools of the trade

In these days of electricians and carpenters on call, there is hardly any need to pick up any tool to fix things around the home. But there is nothing like a little independence.  Pick up blunt tools like a spanner or small screw driver and learn to tighten battery compartments of your toys. You could put these skills to good use to build models using Mechanix toy sets.

#3 Get useful

During the school year, the routine of school, home-work and classes takes up most of the day. During the holidays though, you have enough time on your hands to do some chores (little jobs) around the house. Depending on how old you are, you could take the responsibility for some everyday chores around the house. Here are some ideas for what you could do:

7-9 years

10-14 years

Put away old newspapers and collect the day’s papers from the gate/door Make your own bed and clean the room
Clean your room Put away your washed and pressed clothes into the right cupboards
Help you parents clean out old cup-boards Help your parent clear up after dinner
Feed the family pet Feed the pet (and if you are 13-14) and walk the dog

# 4 Create a masterpiece

The long summer afternoons when it’s too hot to play outside are a great time to learn a new art skill. It could be painting, embroidery, creating a piece of installation art, or even (for boys above 12) learning to stich on a button or mend a basic tea

# 5 Master of the Game

Summer’s a time for board games too. This year, pick one board game that you feel you can absolutely master during the summer holidays.  Remember, it has to be reasonably challenging – Scrabble, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit are good picks. Play them with your family and friends, and by the end of summer, it should be your goal to be able to beat most of them!

#6 Climb your highest mountain

No, we are not saying that you should strap on your hiking boots and get going. Rather, what we mean is that, this summer, focus on one task/activity that you find really challenging and master it. It could be learning to cycle, swim, understanding a tough math concept or even solving the Rubik’s cube. Give this one problem your undiluted focus and crack it!

# 7 Start from Scratch

Scratch is a programming language that was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States.  It is an easy to use programming language that has been specially created for 8 to 16 year olds. Scratch can be used to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. You can even share these on the web once you’ve finished.

Get an adult to get you started on Scratch and let your creative juices flow.

Bonus: Your ability to calculate and analyse things will also go up!

#8 Read a Classic

Book Classics don’t have be long boring reads – in fact some of them are downright exciting, and better than the ‘2 minute’ novels that you find so much of these days. Check out some of these classics – and you won’t be bored for a minute, we promise.

  • Roverandum by J R R Tolkien
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • My Family and other Animals by Gerald Durrell
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B.White

#9 Manage your money

As you travel and go out with your parents in the summer, you will no doubt be visiting a lot of supermarkets and shops to buy daily goods like fruits and vegetables, clothes and things for the house.  With the help of an adult, learn to calculate the cost of things you are buying, hand over cash and count the change given back by the shop keeper. It’s a handy skill for life, plus it will do wonders for your math.

#10 Quality time at dinner

Dinner is the one meal that the entire family probably gathers for. We usually use it as a time for discussing the day’s news and catching up on what happened at home/office. Take it one step further and set up a schedule of dinner time topics every week. The list could be wide and varied – it could be about a great new movie, a sports event, a personality or even a website you browsed on the internet. Your job is to come to the dinner table fully prepared to discuss the topic, which can then be thrashed out by the entire family. Be warned though – your enthusiasm will likely be infectious, and soon your siblings, and even parents could be competing with you to establish mastery of the topic!