Keeping Your Kids’ Brains Active Once School is Out

What student isn’t excited about summer break? Sleeping in, sunshine, swimming, sports, activities, friends – who can beat it

The downside to summer break is possible ‘brain drain.’ According to recent studies, experts say students can lose three months of education during their summer breaks, and in the new school year ahead, a lot of time is lost relearning what they forgot. At usually two or three months away from school, summer break can just become a loss of knowledge gained in the prior year.

As a parent, this is a concerning realization – but rest assured, there are things you can do to ensure your children’s previous learning hasn’t gone down the drain by August. Experts cite that the involvement of parents makes the difference in children retaining what they have already learned, and being prepared for all that’s to come.

To combat brain drain, parents can strike a balance between learning and fun, infusing summer lessons with informality and grabbing opportunities to teach where they can find them. Most have learned through trial and error that sitting kids down at set times of day with work to do in the summer backfires. The more it feels like schoolwork, the faster you lose them.

So here are some ways that will actually work to keep kids’ minds active when they’re out of school:

  1. Summer reading

Summer reading programs have been around for a century, providing age-appropriate options for kids of every grade and helping those who aren’t naturally great readers to find the material that will make them want to pick up a book.

  1. Foster creative pursuits

Whether it’s art, music, or acting, using the creative side of the brain is always a good idea in continued learning. Take advantage of your children’s interests. For example, if they’re into paintings, encourage them to learn about a particular artist, or even have them take part in a summer art course.

  1. Travel

Experiencing new parts of the country and world, along with different cultures, is an invaluable learning experience that you can’t even get in a classroom. Have your kids do some homework in advance of the trip to learn about what they’ll be seeing, the history behind it, etc. They can also participate in researching what sites the family should visit.

  1. Games

You might think that hours spent at the game console always equal mindless wasted time, but some games actually get kids moving, and may improve their ability to focus and learn new skills. Games like Dance Revolution or Guitar Hero engage the body, while encouraging mental concentration that not only helps kids learn, but also prepares younger students to sit still for lessons later.

  1. Cooking

To enjoy the fruits of culinary labors, children must first master reading, measuring, and following directions – summer lessons that are much easier to swallow when the outcome is something tasty. Cooking also requires patience, accurate time-telling, and clean-up skills.

  1. Family Activity Day

Work with your children as you put them in charge of planning a family activity day. This incorporates budgeting, research, and time management skills, and the result is a fun day everyone can enjoy and remember, long after summer has ended.

These fun ways to include learning into summer vacation will be instrumental as your children tackle a new, productive school year next fall. They’ll not only be well-rested, but will benefit from brain power that hasn’t taken a break for three months.

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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