If your kids are on a traditional school schedule, there are a few months that there is not classic school training at all. It’s called summer. Kids can’t wait, teachers are excited and parents are uneasy. We want to give our kids a much needed break from school, let them play, but if their minds are as quick as mine at forgetting unused information, they will have issues come the next school year. This is called Summer Brain Drain, Brain Slump, or Summer Slide. We, as parents, are so focused on making sure our kids enjoy their summer that we can easily forget to keep their brains working. Don’t feel bad, you are not alone, but there is an easy solution to preventing this!!
Preventing Brain Slump
Let’s just clarify that you DO NOT have to do ‘school’ work with your kids every day of the summer. Technically you don’t have to do any ‘school work’. What needs to be done is keeping their brain moving and working so that it doesn’t get into a slump of You Tube and Disney movies (no judgement..we use You Tube and Disney movies often enough in our home). How can you do this? Here are a few ideas.
Please note that affiliate links may be used in this post.
Read to your child, have your child read to you, have your child read to themselves. Whatever the situation is, regardless of what type of book they are reading…just read. Books are magical tools for keeping the brain functioning in a fantastic way, just the way kids brains need to be moving. We always carry a few books with us for when we are stuck waiting somewhere or even relaxing like on a picnic or at the beach. Where’s Waldo? is great for on the go! There are a ton of summer reading programs for kids that may encourage and motivate both you and your kids. Prizes do amazing things for motivation, don’t they? A few places to check are Pizza Hut, Scholastic, Barnes & Noble, and your local library. Our local libraries also have story time. My daughter loves going to listen to stories, with other kids, and then they typically do a craft or activity afterwards. It is also easy to set up activities or crafts to go with books at home too. We loved this Three Little Pigs activity that we did. It is also fun to do crafts inspired from books like this Pigeon & Duck Inspired By Mo Willems and the Goodnight Moon Inspired Activity.
Don’t forget to download some free audiobooks to listen to in the car: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
Check out local places with hands on experiences: farms, zoos, Children’s museum, and science museums always have hands on experiences for kids. Other places may have a one time or ‘for a short period of time’ kid experiences. For instance fire station, fair, 4-H club, high schools, etc. We have a paper magazine that can be found at our local library that lists hundreds of activities for all ranges of kids. Maybe your local area has something similar.
3. Educational Apps
Some parents are completely against screen time. If that works for your family then more power to you. In our home, I have found that technology can be a powerful tool and something that my daughter’s generation will need to be proficient in as she grows up (1st graders are already using tablets instead of text books in our area). My daughter also loves being on her tablet. I have filled it with educational game apps that she sees as fun but I know they are working her brain! A few of our favorites include: ABC Mouse, Starfall, Spelling Monster, and NASA Be A Martian.
4. Have Enriching Play Time
Playing is crucial for kids. Encouraging them to use play time in an enriching way may not be too difficult for some. It isn’t tricking your kids if you encourage them to play in a constructive way that keeps their mind moving. Some of our favorite ways to play in a constructive way are with legos, puzzles, store with our play cash register, and play cash register. We love these games: Apples to Apples, Monopoly Jr., and Sum Swamp is super fun. Pattern blocks are also a super fun activity. You could join the kids in Pretend play too.
5. Hands On Activities At Home
Regardless of what your child’s interest are, there are activities that you could set up for your little ones that are hands on, fun, and help keep their brain moving. I highly suggest you get one of these STEAM Activity books and used that for inspiration throughout the summer. Have your children look through the activities and see which ones they want to do.
Some activities that are typically at hit in our house are:
- Raised Salt Painting – This is STEAM at its best. A little science, a little art, a lot of fun!
- Finger Painting – We always leave our painting easel out an ready to go. Whenever my kids get a yearning to paint or create!
- Choose STEM related toys to keep the learning going while the kids have fun! If you purchase the right toys that are educational while also being fun the kids will be learning all throughout the summer!
- Letter Crafts like this B is for Bee. My kids love crafting and this is a simple way to incorporate letter practice!
- Oil Reistant Painting is a fun activity to do outside on a hot day!
- The versatility of play dough leads to many summer days exploring the world with play dough. We try to incorporate themes into dough play like this construction theme with dirt play dough.
- Make a nature exploring kit and go outside. Just explore, see what you can find. You’ll be surprised what can be taught and learned by walking in nature!
I usually have a few different activities set up, or at least ready to go, so my daughter can have the freedom to choose. I want her to feel as though she has freedom to choose and that she is enjoying her summer break while not choosing to watch useless TV all day.
Another few quick tips that I try to remember for summer is to stay on a schedule. To be honest, in the summer, I will not wake my daughter up as early as I would for a school day. BUT, that being said, I try to not let her just keep sleeping. Its a slippery slope to let their sleep get of schedule and it can take weeks to get back into the groove. When summer is only 10 weeks long, there isn’t much time to let this happen.
I also try to stick to a routine during the day.
6. Get a monthly subscription box for kids – while this ties to the suggestion above sometimes Mom’s need something that is simple to prepare. Kiwi Crate is by far my favorite monthly subscription box for kids. We are currently using it on weekends and the kids really look forward to the amazing activities. I love that EVERYTHING we need for the activities is included already in the box. If you would like to purchase a subscription to Kiwi Crate use my Kiwi Crate Promo code FUNWITHMAMA30 to receive 30% off your first crate with a subscription of 3 months or more! You can also go here to check out all my Kiwi Crate Reviews and my Koala Crate Reviews.
And last, but not least, my biggest tip is: remember to have fun. Summer can be such a fun time and I have so many great memories from my summer breaks. I want my daughter to have the same experiences, enjoying her summer break, I just don’t want her to fall behind when school starts again!