Summer is coming and with it comes BRAIN DRAIN! (Insert old horror movie scream!) You know your kids learned a lot, but every fall it seems like they’re starting from square negative one! How can the dreaded brain drain be slowed to a drip or even stopped all together? KAG Contributor Erica McCall has a few ideas to try with your kids this summer!
Don’t let your kids slide this summer
Keep books in the car
Reading every day for just 20 minutes can improve your child’s vocabulary, speaking abilities, test scores, and more! By keeping books in the car, you are encouraging this activity outside of the home and you’re also helping to avoid the “Are we there yet!?” drama. Yes, your DVD player can keep them quiet, but I promise a book will never start singing “Let It Go” for all to hear.
Ask them questions
Requiring your child to think critically is one of the toughest things to do, but it gets their brain juices flowing instead of draining. As you pass construction, ask them what sort of building they’d design for that area and why. If you’re stuck in traffic, ask them to imagine that they have a flying car… what would it look like and what gadgets would it have? Using their imagination and higher level thinking skills will keep them pondering and productive!
Use your devices
Most of the time, I’m all about leaving the devices behind when you can… BUUUUUT I know that kids just can’t do without their iPads, DS’s, and whatever else I’m too old to be hip to. So – let’s use them wisely! Most students of a Greenville County school have a login for Compass Odyssey and one for First in Math. These are EXCELLENT sources for fun games that are actually lessons that are strategically leveled for your child based on their MAP scores (CO) or grade (FiM). Contrary to what you might think, video games offer very little in the way of problem solving skills that can be used in the real world and do contribute to a LOT of violent tendencies when left unguarded. Be sure you’re monitoring what games your child is playing and for how long. More than an hour a day isn’t good for a kid of any age, especially when there’s beautiful sunshine to enjoy or books that could be read!
I saw on Pinterest, the mothership of all ideas now, where you can take old boxes and cut out squares. Then you paint letters on each one and a small number in the corners for point values and VOILA! Outdoor, giant Scrabble! If you have teeny ones, use colored chalk (ground up) and create a Twister game pattern on the grass. You can even teach probability if you change up the sizes of the colors on the spinner.
Dora isn’t the only one who can go exploring and your kids will definitely think you’re the coolest! If you want to be extra cool, create a scavenger hunt based on where you’re going or a treasure map for your backyard! Even a quarter can be buried treasure!
Let your kids have a say in the day
Your child has very definite ideas, as I’m sure you’re aware, but they probably like learning more than even they are aware. Let them create a scavenger hunt list or outdoor game. They’ll have to plan and execute the plan in order for it to work, and where are those skills needed? Mhmm. Everywhere.
Take advantage of our city
We have the Children’s Museum, Roper Mountain Science Center, the Greenville Zoo, tons of places to try out gymnastics or dance… use this! Even if you just do a ‘try it once’ type of outing, it’s still once more than they’d have done it before!
Last but not least…
Enjoy your time with your kids. Yes, they drive you crazy and you get soooo ready for school to take them back (remember that when you’re thanking the teacher at the end of the year), but DO NOT FORGET that they are little once! You only have one first beach trip, only one first time they see a zebra, and only one of that little kiddo! They’re snotty and sweaty and loud and obnoxious, but they’re the perfect mix of those things and they love you to the moon and back!
HAVE FUN keeping your family engaged and active this summer!!
*As an addendum to this list, check out this lady’s blog on ways to include education in your child’s summer. She has some terrific ideas!
What tips do you have to add to our list on how to keep your kid’s brain active and engaged this summer?