Beating the Summer Brain Drain
By Tracey Dowdy
Summer brain drain is real. According to a study by The Summer Learning Association, over the summer students lose about one month on a grade-level equivalent scale. But no one wants their kids sprawled in front of a screen for the entire summer break.
Dr. Gail Gross, Parenting, Education, and Child Development expert, recommends engaging in activities to help your kids stay sharp, many of which can be a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
- Visit your local library
- Go on field trips to museums
- Cook with your children
- Start a family game night
- Take family vacations – either in person or virtually
Another option is to consider some of these games, websites and apps. They’re fun but educational too, so your kids won’t suffer brain drain and, come September, won’t spend the first weeks of school playing catch-up.
BRAINPOP was created by Dr. Avraham Kadar as a creative way to explain challenging concepts to his young patients. It has developed into an innovative way to teach core competencies and supplemental subjects to kids of all abilities and skill levels through games, animated movies and activities. There are over 1000 different topics to explore, including STEM, Math, Social Studies, English, Reading/Writing, Health, Music, Art, Animation, and much, much more. (Ages K-12)
VISUAL SCHEDULE PLANNER is ideal for students with learning or developmental disabilities who struggle maintaining their daily routine and require a visual aid system to help. Being off their school-year routine can cause frustration and setbacks. Instead, download the app to an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch to help the child maintain the structure they need. The app sends daily and weekly schedules, a task list for each activity, and an estimate for how long each activity will take. (iOS – $14.99/ Ages 4+)
YELLOW SCOPE – FOUNDATION CHEMISTRY KIT FOR GIRLS Recognizing that girls tend to lose their confidence in math and science in middle school, scientists and moms, Marcie Colledge and Kelly McCollum created YellowScope to keep girls engaged and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM. Recognizing that girls learn best when projects are creative and open-ended, Yellow Scope kits are designed to be both scientific and creative. (Ages 5+)
EARLY LINGO offers kids fun and interactive activities that teach them foreign languages through immersive and repetitive learning. Choose from English, Spanish, French, German, Italian or Chinese/Mandarin. Early Lingo focuses on children from infant to nine years to capitalize on those early years when children soak up new skills so easily. Using native speakers, music, bright colors and animation, each lesson reinforces what’s been learned, as well as introducing new vocabulary. (Ages birth-9 years/iOS – $3.99)
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.