The summer vacation for children and young people is long and how do you go about keeping up with Dutch? The vacations can be wonderful for rest and relaxation, but can also be difficult for the (further) development of the Dutch language.
”She’s just starting to like Dutch and now the vacation falls exactly before our move and now she only hears Afrikaans around her.”
A commonly heard sound from children who are just learning Dutch as a second or third language. Also, children who are just learning to read, for example, usually experience a relapse through the summer. This so-called summer dip in learning is proven, but there is definitely something to do about it as you can read through this link.
The summer can be very nice for younger children, during a visit to the Netherlands, to be more immersed in the Dutch language, but how do you arrange that?
What are the possibilities for this summer 2022? Read the various opportunities below.
Summer camps to keep up with Dutch
”His Dutch could use more ‘input’, but he has no Dutch contacts outside of school.”
What does your child like to do? Sailing, biking, horseback riding or other sports? Dutch knows many Dutch summer camps. A very fun and nice way to keep up or build up Dutch.
Of course, it is nice if your child feels confident enough to make new contacts in a second or third language and/or is able to work with his Dutch sufficiently.
The positive side of ‘thematic’ summer camps is that you can go over the vocabulary beforehand and practice it.
There are several advantages to having your child attend a summer camp, but one of the biggest is that children develop their social skills. In addition, they need and hear the Dutch language all the time.
Because it is not a school environment, your child is asked to do things in a different way. So for your child, it will not feel like ‘I am learning or practicing Dutch’ in the school sense.
Other advantages are that the children are exposed to a lot of creativity, sports, and recreation Have fun with peers, and develop self-confidence by doing this independently. They also learn many skills that they do not learn at school or at home. These skills they also take home.
Expat camps for children in the summer vacation
”She’s really just starting to speak Dutch and now there’s a gap of 11 weeks where she’s mostly with her English-speaking parents.”
Expat camps are created especially for these expat children. Children who live abroad go on vacation with their families in the Netherlands. They want to enjoy the vacation but also keep up or even improve their Dutch. Then these camps are ideal: they are specially designed to make everyone feel at home and you can always make mistakes in Dutch. Everybody understands that you are learning!
There were several providers of expatriate camps, but unfortunately this year ‘only’ two large providers are visibly active:
Young Expat Services has organized a sporty and educational expat camp in collaboration with SportWays. This camp is specially set up for expat children. During the camp Dutch is consciously spoken, also during the sports activities.
Club Adventure has been organizing summer camps for Dutch children from home and abroad for over 30 years. The Dutch children who live abroad often call this an expat camp.
Vacation or temporary care for young children
Are you coming to the Netherlands for a few weeks to visit family and friends, but also to work, or do you want your children to be more actively immersed in the Dutch language than just visiting? Surely it is a great opportunity for your children now that they are in the Netherlands. Summer or language camps are often for older children, but fortunately, there are vacation or temporary childcare programs that give your children a chance to brush up on their Dutch.
For younger children, for example, programs like The Little Gym’s vacation programs are a godsend to help children keep up with their Dutch. These programs are all about having fun, sports, games, creative activities, and learning. The thematic vacation programs can take place both half days and full days and can be booked by both members and non-members.
Kinderopvang Mirakel offers a so-called vacation contract. This care is for all children aged 0-12 years and who require care for a specific consecutive period.
Kinderopvang Schiphol also offers flexible childcare. This is ideal for parents who live or work in the Schiphol area.
UniKidz has two locations where they offer temporary childcare: in Amstelveen and on IJburg.
Also, consider the possibility of hiring a summer au pair. A summer au pair is the same as a normal au pair, but only for summer vacations. The au pair will stay with you for one to three months and will have the same tasks as a normal au pair. She takes care of the children and helps with light housework. You can agree with her to regularly visit playgrounds with many children in order to have more interaction in Dutch.
Another good option is to register your children with a host parent. Some host parents offer vacation care because they have fewer children to care for during the vacations.
Of course, you can also arrange for a babysitter yourself (older niece or nephew, known babysitter from one of your friends, etc.) or through babysitting websites such as Sitly.
Language camp or summer courses Dutch for children
Does your child have a long summer vacation and time to spare? Then, of course, you can take some Dutch lessons or follow a summer course. There are not really many offered for children, other than the Dutch online schools that also offer single lessons in the summer vacations.
M. likes the lessons during the vacations better. “Mom, now I only have to concentrate on Dutch and nothing else.”
Berlitz offers a half-day summer language camp in Amsterdam for two weeks. Among other things, they offer language classes to a maximum of 6 children per group.
At Dutch for Children, a number of teachers are working through this summer, especially for your children. Are you moving to the Netherlands during the vacation, is everyone on vacation, and do you want your child to become better acquainted with the Dutch language? Then this is an opportunity.
It could also be that your child has just started reading and needs some extra help and especially continuity. Then a few lessons during the vacations are a godsend. Moreover, our lessons are tailor-made, so always adapted to the interests and abilities of your child. That keeps it fun! Read more about the summer lessons via this link.
Keeping up yourself with your children’s Dutch during the vacations
If your child isn’t a kid for camp or extra classes during his vacation, you can always keep up with more Dutch yourself. A few ideas in a row.
1. Create your own “Netherlands moment/ day or daypart.” This will obviously be the most fun moment of each week. The overarching theme is “Netherlands” and at that moment you will do something fun in and with the Netherlands(s).
Think of things like:
- Cinema night with a fun Dutch children’s or youth film. For the creative ones: think up viewing questions in advance so that you can discuss the answers after the film.
- Baking a Dutch apple pie, butter cake, apple turnovers, etc. Shopping list, shopping, reading the recipe, and making it all happen in Dutch. And, enjoy!
- Look up the history of some typical Dutch things like clogs, tulips, water control, etc. Through the internet, you can find nice WebQuests and of course a lot of background information.
- But it can also be simpler: “During one or two dinners we only talk Dutch” (those who can), or place-specific: when we go to the playground we talk Dutch.
2. Reading in Dutch. Seeing reading, makes you read. This is not age-related. Read an exciting Dutch book to your teenager, read Dutch regularly yourself, and find a book you can read on stage (everyone gets a role in the book and reads their role aloud). Wijzer over de basisschool tells more about this.
The CPNB Foundation is again organizing the ‘Summer Reading’ campaign. This one started in June 2022. Read and follow here. And through the website Kinderboeken you can search for the best book for your child by age and subject.
In addition, the libraries each have their own summer program this summer of 2022. Google on ”library, summer 2022, and (your) place” and find the schedule(s). By the way, did you know that as of July 1, 2022, everyone under the age of 18 in all of the Netherlands, including the BES islands, can become a member of the library for free?
5 more great ideas for summer books
1. Vacation book on a journey of discovery. Did you know that there are carts driving around on Mars? And that you carry up to one and a half kilos of bacteria in your intestines? You can read these and many more fun facts in the new Young Scientist Holiday Book. Join us on a crazy journey of discovery through the solar system, the internet, and our crazy brain.
2. Summer reading for different ages. For example, for toddlers, you have a read-play-do book and for readers in, say, 4th grade, a summer reading book by Paul van Loon. Look at the different possibilities via this link, or search in BOL for ‘summer reading 2022’ and then the group or age.
3. De geheime code van de Grote Kluis. By Ivan Tapia & Montse Linde. Solving Reading. A book that challenges and triggers finding solutions. There is also a part one; both can be read separately.
4. Youth books, chosen by the Young Jury. Here you’ll find the eleven Young Jury Readers’ Suggestions – with image and sound!
For each book, you’ll find a number of excerpts that relate to the themes of the book. This way your child can easily form an image of the book.
3. School activities
Do fun language-based school activities with your child at set times. For more information, see our previous article in Dutch, full of useful tips and links.
4. Dutch Language and Culture
When you are in the Netherlands, there are of course too many fun things to mention to soak up the Dutch culture. Of course, you speak Dutch during these outings, or agree to play “Ik zie, ik zie wat jij niet ziet…” on the bus, train, or canal boat.
Podcasts from 3 to 14 years old on the website Kinderpodcasts. Why podcasts? Children respond more creatively to stories they hear than to stories on television. With the spoken word, children engage ideas 2-3 levels higher than their normal reading level would allow.
The Flemish also have great podcasts: for and by children from Belgium. In 5 episodes they talk about their experiences with friendship: arguments, expectations, memories, helping each other … Every 14 days a new episode to listen to! Highly recommended: Onder ons.
Dutch for Children wishes you great summer vacation with your kids!
You can also contact us personally by email at firstname.lastname@example.org