5 ways kids can avoid summer brain drain

Summer vacation is almost upon us. Summer tends to slip away faster than sand through our fingers, but when you think about it, June, July, and half of August, are a long time for kids to be out of school.

My oldest has been reading up a storm in Kindergarten and his little brother is right at the brink of sounding words out. My youngest is about to start Preschool in the fall. This got me thinking, what can I do to stop avoid the inevitable summer brain drain?

While I agree that a little rest and relaxation is good to recharge the old batteries, I don’t want the kids to lose anything that they have gained this past year either. So in preparation for summer, I have devised a plan. Here are my 5 ways to help avoid summer brain drain.

Weekly visits to the library – Our local library is not only brimming with tons of fun, age-appropriate books, but also tons of FREE summer activities. Between the summer reading club, and the activities, our library also has the invaluable resource of our librarians. Librarians are always willing to help and suggest activities and books to keep our kids minds active all summer long.

SUGGESTIONS: On our reading list this summer are the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems and the Mercy Watson series by Katie DiCamillo.

Workbooks – Instead of toting around the same old coloring books this summer, I got a few workbooks to keep in our travel bag and by the craft table. With all the back and forth to camps and activities, this is a good time for them to work on a few pages of a workbook instead of coloring. I also thought these might be fun to break out at restaurants, waiting for someone at swim lessons, or when you hear the dreaded words “I’m bored.”

SUGGESTIONS: Just check out this selection on Amazon.

Educational media – We all know that there will be more video games, more TV, more movies and more iPad time in the summer. While we try to keep these things to a minimum, let’s face it, kids like their screen time. Take advantage of this opportunity by introducing some educational DVD’s, apps, games and shows into the mix.

SUGGESTIONS: We are fans of anything PBS in our home, including Sesame Street Wii games and apps.

Field trips – There’s no doubt that summertime is a time for travel, but a little research ahead of time can go a long way in teaching kids a little more about an area. Whether it be a by car, plane or train, show your kids the route and teach a little geography on the way too.

SUGGESTION: We have been using a lot of Google Earth to plan our summer vacation and show the kids different destinations along the way.

Old-fashioned life lessons – In addition to school smarts, kids need to have some good old-fashioned life smarts too, and summer is the perfect time to teach some self-sufficient life skills. Make a bucket list with your kids and figure out some skills they would like to learn. Whether it be riding a two wheeler, tying their shoes, cooking a meal from scratch, growing their own food, doing a full load of laundry, or perhaps learning some basic financial skills and saving some money from that lemonade stand. We all know there are just some things that aren’t taught in school, and summer is the perfect opportunity to learn some of these skills now that you have the extra time.

Hoping you and your family have a safe, healthy, happy and educational summer!

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