Parents challenged to plan summer activities

Children swim in a pool in Amman in this file photo. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — With the summer holiday around the corner, parents are looking for new ways to keep their children engaged as summer camps remain closed due to the pandemic. اضافة اعلان

Dina Kababji, mother to a 10-year-old girl, describes feeling frustrated at the lack of structured activities, like summer camps, where children could be tucked away for the day and kept stimulated by field trips, sports, and museum visits. She will be “overwhelmed by the thought of her daughter sitting around for two months,” without school assignments or clubs keeping her busy. 

Kababji also emphasized the importance of having her daughter spend time outdoors, where she can safely play with the neighbors’ kids from a distance and get her exercise in. 

Others, fearing that monotonous summer days with limited social interaction will drain their kids, are encouraging their children to pick up new skills. 

Reem Ghezawi, mother to an eight-year-old boy, notes the value in using free time to improve language skills and practice reading. She believes that restricted travel presents an opportunity to engage in local tourism, where her son can “explore new parts of Jordan while spending more time with family.” 

Kindergarten teacher Siwar Qasrawi, who teaches her classes virtually, explains that her young students “don’t really know why they’re behind a screen all day” and are unable to fully grasp the idea of a pandemic. She insists that parents have a certain responsibility to uphold in mitigating the detrimental effects of online school and keeping their children stimulated in in-person activities, and hopes that the reopening of playgrounds and daycare centers will ease some of that stress. 

An education expert and psychologist, Amina Hattab says that parents should use the summer to immerse their kids in local communities after much time spent indoors. She believes that children need to regain certain social skills and spend time with their families and communities to make up for time lost.

Hattab, who has a PhD in psychology and runs her own practice, proposes volunteering as a way of “building community.” She also suggests encouraging children to read short stories and novels, outside of school curricula, to make up for some of the shortcomings of online classes.  

With vaccine rollout on the rise across the country, more activities are becoming available for children to get involved, including socially distant pottery, drawing, and painting classes at the Creative Art Center Amman and art and culinary workshops at the Haya Cultural Center for children between the ages of 3 and 8. Indoor spaces like the Children’s Museum and Climbat have also reopened their doors and are providing classes to adults and children alike. Hiking trails, like those at the Ajloun Forest Reserve, also remain an option for outdoor activities. 

Despite the burden of keeping children busy during long summer days, parents can capitalize on the country’s gradual reopening to provide their kids with a semblance of a typical summer and relieve some of the pressures of online school.

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