If your child wants to improve their English, they need to practise, practise, practise. Learning ‘little and often’ is more effective than occasionally studying hard.
Cambridge English resources
The Cambridge English website has lots of free resources to help your child practise their language skills at home. For example, your child can improve their:
- listening skills with our Virtually Anywhere audio series and activities
- speaking skills with our Sing and Learn videos and activities
- reading skills by playing our online games
- writing skills by using Cambridge English Write & Improve.
Encourage your child to do one of our 5–10-minute learning activities every day. We have lots of free, online activities for younger children and teenagers.
The holidays are a chance for children to practise the things they learned in school, explore them in more depth and use them in real-life situations.
Speaking and listening activities:
- Ask your child what they enjoyed doing in school. What would they like to learn more about? It could be dinosaurs, castles, space travel, endangered animals, the water cycle.
- Listen to English-language audiobooks or television shows related to your theme.
- Encourage your child to make a wish-book. Ask them to put in pictures of things they’d like to do and add labels in English. Older children could add more details, such as:
- Why do you want to visit?
- When is it open?
- How much does it cost?
- After a day out, ask your child to write a postcard in English. This practises useful writing skills, such as giving descriptions and expressing opinions.
- Learning tip for 5–12 year olds: Encourage your child and their friends to send postcards to each other. It’s important to have real reasons to communicate in English. Ask your child’s school to join Cambridge English Penfriends. Your child can share postcards with other English learners around the world.
- Learning tip for 13–18 year olds: Encourage your child to type their postcard message into Cambridge English Write & Improve. They will receive instant, free feedback, which they can use to improve their writing.
- Suggest that your child makes a holiday journal. They will learn and remember more by recording what they did and reflecting on their experiences. Let them choose how to present it. For example, they could:
- make a scrapbook. Ask them to glue in ‘souvenirs’. For example, their ticket, a photograph, a flower, a shell from the beach. Ask them to write a caption for each item.
- write a blog or film themselves talking about their holiday (vlog).
- Encourage your child to read storybooks or fun facts related to the topics they’re interested in and the things they’ve enjoyed doing.
- If you have bad weather, no transport or you don’t have many places to visit, have an ‘imagination holiday’ at home. Encourage your child to find out about holiday traditions in other countries, such as Anzac Day (Australia), Carnival (Brazil), Holi, the festival of colours (India), Lantern Festival (China), Mardi Gras (France/USA).
- Ask your child to research a food/drink recipe from a different country, such as having a traditional English garden party with ‘afternoon tea’.
The school holidays are a perfect time to do longer projects, which your child would not have time for usually.
Projects can be really motivating. They give children the opportunity to be creative and use English to complete real-life tasks. Projects are also a fantastic way to use a range of different language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening).
Here are a few project ideas you could try at home:
- Make your own movie: this project can involve hours, days or weeks of fun. It can involve creating a storyboard/script (reading and writing), acting the movie (speaking) and editing the movie (listening).
- Your child might also enjoy making a stop-motion cartoon. You will need objects that can be easily moved, such as Lego figures or Play-Doh characters. Take a photo of the character, move the character just a little bit and take another photo. When the photos are shown quickly in order, the character will appear to move on its own. Then add some voices and sound effects.
- Redesign your bedroom: encourage your child to find some English-language objects to go in their bedroom. For example, comic books (reading skills), music (listening skills), home-made posters (writing skills), toys from English-speaking cartoons that can only ‘understand’ conversations in English (speaking skills).
- You could ask your child to design their ‘dream bedroom’. Ask them to label colours and furniture. Older children may enjoy doing some research online and presenting their design ideas with written descriptions in English.
- Use other events to get inspired: your child might be looking forward to a particular event. For example, the football World Cup, the Olympic and Paralympic Games, a singing/talent show, a new movie or music album. Ask them to describe the highlights. Let them choose how to present it. For example, they could:
- act out the highlights
- make a scrapbook with labels
- pretend to be a journalist and write a newspaper article
- write a short story about what the characters might do next.