Okay…school is out and the summer has begun. Pools are open and the lazy days are setting in. It is good to slow the pace down and even to have some unplanned lazy days. Research has shown that having some unplanned time is good for the mind as well as for the body. Gives you time to recharge as well as experience a respite.
Having said that, it is also important to keep children’s minds engaged so that they will stay sharp. If they get too dull, it will take much more time when school resumes to get them back in gear. Students lose an average of one month of academic learning over the summer break, according to research from the RAND Corporation. So what can you do to keep those minds sharp?
Below are some ideas that we have uncovered:
- FrankenWords: this is a fast-paced matching game to help your kids experiment with compound words and strengthen their vocabulary. Download a free set of 48 playing cards
- Puzzles: pull out a card table and dump the pieces of a puzzle onto it; make sure it is not too complicated; let everyone attack it individually and as a group
- Reading: several approaches here – have your child pick a book to read; read it to her at night; have a discussion on it while driving (experience has shown that kids really open up when they are in the car)
- Vacation projects: have your child look up key information about the destination for your vacation; have him make a short video with your cellphone telling what he learned and upload it to a private YouTube channel for posterity (they will get a big kick out of looking at themselves when they get older)
These are a few suggestions to keep your kids’ minds active. This will pay big dividends when school rolls around as the mental climb for them to re-engage will not be so steep. And you will have more peace of mind about their preparedness for the new school year. Don’t forget…summers go by fast.