Many parents express to me that they do not see how their children can learn English if they are not doing school work or assessment books. Here are two fun English ideas that you can try (:
1. Excuse me, here is my order.
The next time you are at a restaurant with your child, carry out this role-playing activity of ordering from the menu. Have your child bring along a small notebook to jot down new vocabulary and to take down the "orders" like a waiter. This activity allows children to pick up new vocabulary, practise spelling and use their oral communication skills, all of which are useful in our real world.
Many restaurants offer their menus online now (Check out Skinny Pizza for an idea!) so you maybe able to go through the menu with your child before going to the restaurant. If not, look through the menu together with your child and go through certain terms which maybe new vocabulary (e.g. scrumptious, salmon, complimentary, dessert, dozen) and have your child jot them down if possible. After understanding the menus, parents may wish to assume the role of a customer first ("I would like to make an order." and begin ordering.) to model how to make an order while your child can be the waiter ("May I take your order, please?"). Many children (Even your twelve-year-olds!) love the idea of being the "adult" and being trusted to make orders so offer your children the opportunity to make a real order as an incentive!
2. Away on a Holiday
If you are booking a holiday or planning a trip, give your children a chance to practise some visual comprehension skills and build up vocabulary by asking them to choose a tour package for the family.
Lots of tour agencies have ready brochures at their stores or you can also find itineraries of various packages from tour agencies such as Chan Brothers (Singapore Online Tour Packages - ChanBrothers.com). Set some criteria for your child such as asking them to find out 5 different tourist spots that the tour includes or the available dates of the tour. This allows children to have a real motivation for reading and aids them to hone their visual text comprehension skills required for Paper 2.
I hope you and your children will have some fun doing the above while learning some new skills! (: