Prevent Summer Brain Drain in Kids
Did you know that when kids stop physical activity and cognitive learning during the summer months, they are at risk for some serious loss of retention in those abilities and skills? It’s what is often referred to as “summer brain drain,” and it’s no joke. Kids lose on average 2 months of reading and math skills during
This year, our kids are at even higher risk for retention loss. They’ve already been out of the traditional learning environment for a couple of months now. And chances are that sports and other activities - even KidStrong classes - have had to be suspended for some time, too. So what’s a parent to do?!
Here are some tips to help keep your child active, and in peak mental form all summer long.
Get outside. There are a number of ways to enjoy the outdoors during the summer. Explore a new park or trail on foot or bring your bikes! Create your own outdoor obstacle course and race through it. Introduce your child to a classic game from your childhood - duck duck goose, tag, red light green light, hide and seek or kickball. Want to beat the heat? Fill up water balloons and play “catch” or see who can throw the balloon the farthest. Consider a water balloon “hunt”. Hide the balloons in various parts of your yard and see who can find the most balloons. Your kids will love it!
Keep your child reading. Make daily reading a priority and part of your schedule, aiming for 20 minutes (although the real goal is quality over quantity reading). Visit your local library and allow your child to pick the book they want to read. Read aloud with your child and ask specific questions regarding a picture in the book or about the main character to drive engagement and comprehension. Explore a variety of reading materials, such as picture books, magazines, chapter books or series and blogs. You could even try an audio-book. Lastly, many local libraries offer summer reading programs with goals and incentives that are perfect for keeping kids excited about reading all summer long.
Practice important math skills through everyday activities and games that are fun and engaging. For example, go on a scavenger hunt around the house (inside or outside) looking for numbers in various household items. Have your child join you in the kitchen while you make a meal. Use measuring cups and spoons for number recognition and identification. For our older kids, measuring cups are perfect for teaching or reviewing fractions. While in the car running errands, have your child count the number of red or blue cars they see. Ask questions such as “did you see more blue or more red cars”? To make this activity more challenging for older kids, ask them to skip count by 2’s, 5’s, or 10’s. What about grabbing a card game? Games such as Go Fish and Uno teaches a child matching and counting. War is also perfect for number recognition, as well as the concept of greater or less than. For a different and more challenging twist on War, especially for our older kids, try having the non-winner add or subtract the numbers on the cards just played; perfect for improving processing speed with simple math questions.
Encourage time for structured physical activity whether it’s at home, or part of organized activity. Remember, physical activity is a required daily dose of medicine necessary not only for overall physical health but also for optimal brain development and academics. KidStrong University provides the perfect online platform of at-home classes that you and your child can enjoy any time! And even better, KSU offers a wide selection of age-appropriate classes designed specifically for brain and physical development. Check out ToddlerStrong, Preschool Prep, KinderPrep, and our Brain + Body workouts. Your child’s brain, body, and teacher will thank you!