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31 July 2017

Banish The

With the dreaded phrase 'I'm bored' looming on the lips of children up and down the country, the headmaster of a leading independent school has come up with his list of 30 screen-free things to do this summer.

Martin Stott who hit the national headlines when he encouraged his pupils to complete a week-long digital detox said the list was to both help parents keep their children entertained but also to avoid learning skills going rusty over the long break away from school.

An advocate of limiting screen time for youngsters he said the holiday hit-list was aimed at activities which were fun but also enhanced learning, confidence and independence.

“It’s not easy to keep children occupied over summer but it is also a long time away from the classroom and we do see skills that have been built up over the school year going rusty during the holidays,” added Mr Stott who is headmaster at The Old Hall School in Wellington, Telford.

“During term time children are working hard and so are parents to support their educational journey and I felt it might help to create a list of things they could do that doesn’t let all that hard work go to waste and is fun to complete.”

Mr Stott’s list aimed at children aged five to 11 also includes packing a picnic for the family and cooking a meal at home, sending a postcard or letter, skimming a stone and learning to polish your own shoes.

“I would love to see children get out and about and learn more about their own community and yes avoid too much time on a screen. With the promise of some good weather this is the best holiday to tackle a list like this,”

Other activities included doing a park run, planting flowers or vegetables, completing a 500-piece jigsaw, learning a poem off by heart and entering a competition.

He also encouraged children to get muddy, fly a kite, build a den and do a sausage sizzle. Mr Stott said parents should also encourage children to learn how to dress themselves and change outfits which could be turned into a timed race adding to the fun.

“We find the children who are happiest and learn more successfully at school are the ones who feel confident at school and are independent. Several of the tasks are aimed at giving children that confidence and it is surprising how little things like knowing how to get dressed on your own and looking after your personal belongings can help a child approaching school with the best possible attitude and get the most out of it.

“I do hope the list helps and that people enjoy going through it and ticking off each one. Some activities are given an age-appropriate suggestion to help mums and dads. ”



The full list is as follows:

1 Navigate a car journey without using a sat nav

2 Take stuff apart - broken appliance will do

3 Learn to tell the time

4 Skim stones

5 Clean your own shoes

6 Ride a bike/Do a park run

7 Learn to get dressed and change outfits independently in timed race (ages 5-7)

8 Learn personal data including address, phone number, birthday

9 Complete a 500-piece jigsaw (7-11 years)

10 Send a postcard or letter

11 Get muddy/Climb a tree

12 Write your own top ten list - things to do, favourite characters, foods or songs

13 Prep and Pack a picnic and choose a location for it.

14 Cook a meal, have a sausage sizzle or make a sandwich (according to age).

15 Build a den/sandcastle

16 Fly a kite

17 Enter a competition which has a task element such as drawing a picture

18 Write a poem and learn one off by heart

19 Climb the Wrekin/Follow the wood carvings trail in Apley Woods.

20 Join a free sports

21 Read a book/Make up your own fictional character or story

22 Camp out /overnight - back garden will do.

24 Have a water fight, paddle or swim in the sea.

25 Visit the library - enter a reading competition

26 Plan a playdate including menu and activities

27 Lead a walk using a map

28 Take a picture of the five well-known landmarks in your area

29 Play football in your local park

30 Plant something in the garden - lettuce and carrots can be planted in the summer.

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