Beat Summer “Brain Drain”, with Engaging Educational Activities
School is out for summer! Children all over the state are enjoying the abundance of free time. The vacations, pool parties and trip to grandma’s are all entertaining, but the long break from school can lead to “brain drain,” where student forget as much as two months of what they’ve learned during the school year.
The good news is that you can curb brain drain by seeking out fun, everyday learning experiences. Here are some ideas for keeping your child’s intellect engaged over the next few months:
- Seek local resources: Many city libraries and community centers have a variety of options. Ask about summer reading programs, culture passes that provide free admission to educational venues, events for kids and more.
- Read every day: Strong reading skills are the foundation for educational success. Read with your child every day to help them develop their skills and a love of literature. It doesn’t have to be a classic – find books or magazines that your youngster is interested in and watch their excitement grow.
- Engage the imagination: Schedule technology-free time when you and your kids can dream and create together. Whether it’s music, art, acting or building, it will be good time to strengthen neural pathways.
- Don’t forget life lessons: The downtime of summer can also be a great time to discuss important life lessons with young people. Topics could include everything from healthy eating and exercising to banking and financial responsibility. Kids grow up in the blink of an eye – when they’re on their own, will your child know how to use a checkbook? What about washing laundry or cooking a meal?
- Keep it simple: You don’t need to have lesson plans or tests at the end of the week; we’re surrounded by opportunities for learning every day. Practice math by tracking statistics during a sports game or calculating time, distance and mileage for an upcoming trip. To review social studies, take the summer to learn more about your family tree or to explore Arizona’s rich history and geography. There are even websites that track events in history by the day – check them out to learn why any given date is notable. Summer is also a great time for science experiments, whether it’s making homemade ice cream in a bag, growing rock candy in a glass or creating a rainbow in a jar.
Everyday learning activities are great because they are so engaging, and students can readily see how their class work relates to every day life. Try to incorporate a few of these activities every week this summer – your child’s teacher will thank you!
Expect More Arizona is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan education advocacy organization working to ensure every child receives an excellent education every step of the way. For more information visit ExpectMoreArizona.org.