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Summer is a time for many kids to celebrate and unwind. After working hard all year, this is finally their chance to cut loose. As a parent, you might also be able to relax from making lunches, trips to and from the bus stop, parent-teacher meetings, and helping with homework. That said, you don’t want to let their minds go to mush over the summer. You want to keep them fresh so when they go back to school in the fall, things won’t seem so foreign to them.
So here are four ways to keep your kids’ brains sharp over summer:
Read, read, read.
It sounds simple enough but honestly, reading is one of the best things your child can do to keep their mind sharp. They can read anything and everything. Get them a library card, drive them often to exchange books, buy their favorite books at home, or subscriptions to magazines on the topics they love. Whatever you do, do all that you can to encourage reading.
Keep them active.
Kids who veg out and stare at electronics all summer will not be as sharp as kids who get exercise. Running, swimming, and playing on the jungle gym do more for your kids than just let them run out excess energy. It’s also good for their brains.
Play learning games.
You can make up your own games (like math in the grocery store) or purchase learning games to do together. There are some you can get that are designed like video games but even with these, limit the screen time accordingly. Any kind of game or puzzle that stretches their mind to think in a new way will help keep them sharp.
Watch Educational Shows.
We can try to limit screen time over the summer, but we all know they're still going to watch plenty of TV. What we can do is give them some educational shows to watch. Here are some of our favorites on Netflix right now:
- Sid the Science Kid – With the help of his teachers and family, Sid answers burning questions like “Why do bananas get mushy?” and “Why are my shoes shrinking?”.
- The Magic School Bus – Join Ms. Frizzle's class on exciting field trips while learning about all kinds of science.
- Jack Hanna's Into the Wild – Go on an animal adventure around the world with Jack Hanna and his family.
- LeapFrog Letter Factory: Amazing Word Explorers – Leap and friends go on a camping adventure to see a meteor shower! Follow along as they learn to rhyme in song, and then build words and develop amazing stories!
- Wild Kratts – Join the adventures of Chris and Martin Kratt as they encounter incredible wild animals, combining science education with fun and adventure, while traveling to animal habitats around the globe.
- The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That! – Sally and Nick travel the world with the Cat in the Hat as their guide.
- The Blue Planet – Explore the marine world, from the familiar to the unknown.
- Super Why! – Wyatt and his pals, the Super Readers, solve problems by consulting classic stories such as Little Miss Muffet, Hansel and Gretel, and more.
- Bill Nye, the Science Guy – Bill Nye gets kids fired up about all branches of science!
- Reading Rainbow – Reading Rainbow teaches reading skills, habits, and attitudes. Kids go on real-life journeys with celebrity guest readers. The show also touches on history, music, and social topics.
Now that you have these tips, you don’t have to worry so much that your kids will forget how to learn when they go back to school.