Now that the PSLE is over, and your Primary 6 kids have had a month of relaxation and play, are they starting to feel bored and restless? Have they been getting much more screen time than you would like?
With the school holidays approaching, your child will have even more time to spare — time is a gift, so do help your child to find ways to use it well!
If you’ve been wondering what your child can do after the PSLE, this post is for you. Read our suggestions below for inspiration, or better still, come up with your own ideas, and take the opportunity to try something new alongside your child.
Post-PSLE Activities & Projects To Keep Your 12YO Engaged
- Plan a family vacation or staycation. Can’t wait to start travelling, or prefer to stay in Singapore for now? Either way, you can still have a fulfilling experience as a family! Read our holiday planning guide to find out about the new Virtual Travel Lanes for vaccinated families, or book a staycation with your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, if you haven’t used them yet!
- Explore Singapore with free trail guides. Bookmark our walking trail resource for nature and culture walks that are suitable for families with children, with links to over 40 trail guides that you can download and keep for future use. Tip: if you find a trail guide particularly interesting and informative, print it out for easier reading.
- Go cycling or skateboarding together. If you head to any park these days, you will see families cycling together. We have even spied parents rediscovering a second childhood by picking up skateboarding again! If everyone is game, turn this into a regular weekend activity and let dads (or kids) take over the planning.
- Take daily walks. If your child is sitting at home during the day, a daily evening walk will give you the opportunity to talk, enjoy the greenery, and reap the benefits of light exercise, which include better digestion and sleep. Just for fun, you can download the national Healthy 365 app (iPhone | Android) to redeem vouchers with the steps that you’ve clocked. Or help your child to install fitness tracking apps such as Fitbit to compete with friends for the highest number of steps.
- Pick up a new sport or activity. Will your child have to choose a new co-curricular activity (CCA) in secondary school? Why not use this time to explore a new hobby? Even if you don’t have CCAs on your mind, racket sports such as badminton and table tennis are easy to try, as there are courts or tables in sports halls and community centres throughout Singapore, and you won’t have to worry about rainy weather.
- Write thank you notes. Primary 6 is a time of goodbyes, especially if your child’s primary school doesn’t have an affiliated secondary school. But don’t just thank the teachers and the principal — remember to show appreciation for the allied educators and counsellors, school canteen operators, cleaners, security guards, and school bus drivers, who have all helped to keep your child well and safe during the primary school years.
- Make greeting cards. Everyone loves receiving a handmade card! At the same time, handmade cards require a lot of time and effort, so why not get an early start? Ask your child to draw up a list of recipients and get to work — there are plenty of ideas online that you can borrow.
- Set goals for the school holidays and the new year. Does your child have plans and dreams for the school holidays and the year ahead? Let your child take the lead, and if he or she wants to spend the holiday resting, watching Netflix, and going on playdates, then so be it. You can negotiate compromises, such as setting limits on screen time, and agreeing on designated times for non-screen activities such as family games, daily exercise, and reading. However, if your child is interested in goal setting, you can refer to our posts on setting academic and non-academic goals.
- Join a volunteer programme, or start a community project. When some parents think about volunteering, they only have CCA bonus points in mind — read our guide to understand how CCA points are awarded in secondary schools. But many parents simply want their children to develop empathy for others, and commit to making a difference in society. Get tips from a local activist on finding a cause to support, and find out how a young person began her own ambitious volunteer project as a 14 year old. Due to Covid-19, most volunteer activities have shifted online, and you can read about some options here.
- Play collaborative board games. These are board games where everyone works together to achieve a common goal, and they are great for hours of family bonding. If your 12-year-old loves solving problems or mysteries, try collaborative games such as Pandemic or Sherlock, which can be purchased from Amazon and online game stores.
- Learn to play chess on Chess.com. Wondering why more kids are keen on chess these days? Although it is not recommended for under-16s, some tweens and teens have watched the Netflix chess drama, The Queen’s Gambit, and developed an interest in chess as a result. For other kids, just seeing their friends play may have piqued their interest. If your child wants to learn how to play chess, Chess.com offers tutorials for beginners, available on their website or app. Once your child picks up the basics, he or she can compete against the computer or other players around the world.
- Have a family movie marathon, or watch a TV series together. You could catch up on all the Marvel movies, or look for a children’s series that adults can appreciate too, such as Hilda.
- Try educational streaming services. If your kids will be spending time on their screens anyway, why not turn it into a learning experience? There are several documentary streaming sites to choose from — a popular option is Curiosity Stream, which has a kids’ section for topics such as STEM, history, and current events.
- Discover new podcasts. Does your child need a screen break? Encourage him or her to listen to podcasts instead! Use this list of 50 Best Podcasts For High Schoolers to find podcasts that your child might enjoy.
- Keep a gratitude jar. Research shows that gratitude makes people happier, and a simple way to give thanks as a family is to write something that you are grateful for on a small piece of paper, fold this up, and store it in a jar. You can then designate a special day, such as Christmas, to empty out the jar and read everyone’s contributions.
- Read books about history, geography, and science. To prime your child’s mind for secondary school subjects, look for age-appropriate books that will stimulate your child’s interest in learning more about the world. For instance, the award-winning thriller Bomb by Steve Sheinkin is about the making of the atomic bomb, and books like these will help to bring world history alive.
- Sign up for art lessons online. Does your child need a creative outlet? You don’t have to splurge on art classes for your child — creative learning sites like Domestika have many options available, with generous discounts from time to time.
- Write songs. Is your child musically trained, or simply interested in music? There are lots of apps for writing music and song lyrics these days, so it’s just a matter of downloading several to try.
- Learn coding. Should all kids learn coding? Is coding overhyped? It depends on what your motivations are, and you can read about the different perspectives here. But if your child is interested in learning coding in order to create a game or app, then yes, you should definitely support this. Need to keep costs down? Check our guide for 10 affordable ways to learn coding.
- Learn typing. In secondary school and beyond, most assignments will be done via computers and devices, and knowing how to type will help your child to save some precious time. Kids can learn touch typing for free on websites like TypingClub.
- Pick a topic to research. There is simply too much to learn about, and the best way is to start small. Try this family activity: have everyone in the family research a topic they’re interested in, so that you can present it to one another at the dinner table! If you sense that your child isn’t particularly interested in anything, try having richer discussions at the dinner table — read our guide to find out what you can do.
- Develop presentation skills. First, you will need to create more opportunities for your child to speak up, such as making a small speech during family gatherings. Next, in order to help your child to improve, you will need to be aware of what makes a good story, and what it takes to prepare for a presentation — read our guide on raising children to be confident speakers.
- Create a newsletter. Need a way to stay in touch with friends and family living abroad? Get your child to assist with creating an email newsletter to update loved ones on happenings in Singapore.
- Start a social media account. Some 12 year olds are keen to have their own Tik Tok or Instagram accounts, but should you let them? Here’s one way to approach this: ask your child to present a case to you for why a social media account is necessary, and how he or she intends to use social media wisely. In this way, you will also help your kids to develop negotiation and accountability skills.
- Make Lego puzzle boxes. Do your kids still love creating with Lego? Challenge them to make a Lego puzzle box. Puzzle boxes work by moving a combination of pieces in the right order, to unlock a secret compartment on the inside. Your child can get started with a tutorial on the Lego website, and there are many more puzzle box videos on YouTube.
- Try journaling. For tweens and teens, journaling is a useful way to process emotions, solve problems, set goals, and stimulate curiosity. You can get them started with a themed journal that contains reflection questions, but a blank journal will do the trick as well.
- Try cooking. If you own a food processor such as a Thermomix, getting your child to prepare a meal can be as easy as reading instructions and pushing buttons! But even if you don’t, this is a good time to let your child help out in the kitchen, as cooking is an essential life skill.
- Be a card trick magician. Is your child interested in card tricks? YouTube has plenty of card trick tutorials that are easy to follow. Let your child master a few tricks and show them off at year-end gatherings!
- Start a business. Running a business during the holidays is a way for kids to execute a plan, exercise creativity, and manage money. For expert advice, read Entrepreneur’s guide for helping kids to start a business.
- Learn about investing. Want your kids to have a financially healthy life? Then it’s best to start them young! Read Investopedia’s guide to teach your child about investing today.