The best summer challenges for kids

Summer challenges for primary school children
Help your child keep those brain cells active throughout the holidays with these brilliant activities, from reading to computer coding.
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After weeks of homeschooling, many of us breathed a big sigh of relief when we put the exercise books aside. But while our kids need a well-deserved break, it’s important to keep their brains ticking over during the summer holidays.
 
The so-called ‘summer slide’ – where children slip backwards academically over the holidays – is real, with research showing that primary school kids lose around 20% of the maths knowledge and reading ability that they’ve gained during the school year during the holidays.
 
Of course, no parent wants to be a slave driver, so any learning that goes on needs to be fun. We’ve rounded up 10 brilliant challenges that your child can get stuck into, helping to put the brakes on summer brain drain.

Summer Reading Challenge 2020: Silly Squad

The annual Summer Reading Challenge is an annual event that aims to prevent the summer reading dip. Each year has a different theme – this year’s is Silly Squad – and challenges children aged four to 11 to keep reading for pleasure during the holidays.
 
Usually, the Summer Reading Challenge takes place in local libraries, but this year, it’s moved online. When your child signs up, they’ll be able to choose their avatar, find books to read (including free online ebooks, magazines and newspapers, and audiobooks from your library's website), and earn rewards and badges.
 
The website is also packed with games, quizzes and other activities to keep your child entertained, including book readings from popular children’s authors.

Stormbreak Summer Challenge

Stormbreak
With mental health issues on the rise amongst children, the Stormbreak Summer Challenge is a brilliant initiative to help your child develop important tools and skills like resilience, confidence and optimism.
 
Every weekday at 10.30am, there’s a new livestream for your child to watch: it could be an animation, a guided mindfulness exercise, or a physical activity (you don’t have to watch live: you can catch up in the Stormbreak YouTube library at any time).
 
Once you’ve signed your child up, they can choose activities based on how they’re feeling or what they enjoy, and collect a virtual badge for every five Stormbreaks they complete. Can they earn a coveted Rainbow Award for tackling 25 Stormbreaks?

Sainsbury’s Active 20 Challenge

Led by Paralympians Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, the Active 20 Challenge is a free virtual summer programme designed to keep kids active – physically and mentally – during the school holidays.
 
Aimed at children aged five to 15, Active 20 challenges them to take part in activities ranging from cooking and craft to games and para-sports over a 20-day period. Tasks include balloon juggling, target practice and human Buckaroo, and they can all be done at home, either independently or with family members.
 
You can follow the Active 20 Challenge on Instagram and Pinterest, with videos and activity sheets to get your child moving.

OpenUK Digital Summer Camp

Tech-mad kids will love this OpenUK online course that aims to build their digital and coding skills throughout the summer, with 10 lessons and accompanying ezines released throughout August.
 
The activities are designed for the BBC micro:bit, a small, easy-to-use programmable device that can be used for a whole range of projects, including designing retro games, making a fitness tracker and composing music.
 
You’ll need to buy a micro:bit to take part (at around £20, they won’t break the bank), but excitingly, once you’ve got your hands on one and registered for the Digital Kids Camp, your child will be sent a free MiniMu glove kit (3,000 available): a piece of wearable tech that’ll help them make music with their micro:bit.

Escape Hunt Academy

If your child is a budding games designer, they’ll love Escape Hunt Academy: a summer challenge culminating in the chance to win prizes in the Young Games Designer competition for 10-18-year-olds, including virtual workshops and £100 vouchers, plus a £20 escape room voucher for every entrant.
 
Hosted by Escape Hunt escape rooms, the Academy will be posting a new downloadable pdf every weekday at 9am from August 10th, with activities and information like how to design games and puzzles, and Q&As and top tips from professional game designers.
 
Each activity takes between 10 and 30 minutes and aims to give your child the skills they need to take part in the Young Games Designer competition: all they is pencil and paper and their imagination.

Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School

Does your child dream of a career on stage or the big screen? This summer, Anna Fiorentini performing arts school is giving them the chance to take part in virtual singing, acting and dance workshops taught by industry professionals and West End stars.
 
Taught on Zoom, there’s a range of classes for different age groups from four to 16 based on productions from Frozen and The Lion King to Hamilton and Six: The Musical, with prices starting from £6.
 
For children who already have performing arts experience and are looking to take their skills further, there are also online workshops to help them succeed in the arts, including audition preparation and self-tape techniques.

Parent Club Play Outdoors

Many of us parents struggle during the holidays to get our kids off screens and out of the house. Scottish parenting website Parent Club’s Play Outdoors campaign is packed with activities to get your child out of the house and enjoying the great outdoors.
 
Online, you’ll find simple outside play ideas for young children aged four to eight that’ll help them get active and use their imaginations, such as puddle-jumping and listening walks.
 
There are also printable activity cards that you can take with you to the park or on a walk to the shops so you won’t be short of inspiration.

Rijksmuseum Online Key Challenge

The Netherlands-based Rijksmuseum has launched a virtual treasure hunt around its online galleries, helping children test their logical thinking and problem-solving skills while introducing them to classic works of art.
 
Using their mouse or touchscreen, your child works their way around the virtual museum looking for keys, interpreting written and pictorial clues and collecting letters that make up a hidden word.
 
This is a great challenge to do with a parent, sibling or friend, and once your child has found the word, they can enter the competition to win a prize.

Living Streets #Try20 Summer Challenge

Living Streets, the charity that aims to get more people swapping the car for active journeys on foot, is challenging children and adults to get active this summer with its #Try20 campaign.
 
It’s rounded up a variety of ideas to get you and your child moving for 20 minutes a day throughout the summer. The challenges include show jumping (getting someone to photograph them doing their longest, showiest jump on foot), butterfly (how many can they spot in one 20-minute walk?) and steeplechase (counting churches and places of worship while out walking).
 

Your child can also earn ‘sporting achievements,’ from triathlon for trying three different #Try20 activities to decathlon for completing 10.

DoodleMaths Summer Challenge 2020

Whether your child finds maths tricky or can’t get enough of numbers and figures, the DoodleMaths Summer Challenge is a great way to keep their maths skills up to date over the school holidays.
 
You’ll need to sign up for access to DoodleMaths on your computer, tablet or phone – there’s currently a seven-day free trial and then 50% off, making it £2.99 per month. Your child is then challenged to do just 10 minutes of DoodleMaths a day, completing 14-day streaks and collecting stars as they go.
 
The activities will help your child consolidate their existing maths knowledge and get to grips with new concepts, and once they’ve hit their stars target, they’ll receive a free certificate and collectible pin badge.