Kids are on summer break from school and you know what that means: the internet is going to start nagging parents to combat brain drain.
’Tis the first day of summer from an astrological perspective! And all across the country, kids are on summer break from school and you know what that means: the internet is going to start nagging parents to combat summer brain drain.
Brain drain — or the problem of kids forgetting stuff during summer break — is a real thing. And it is a problem. But it’s not a problem that requires trying to turn your summer break into School Lite. And it definitely doesn’t have to cost you a ton of money in camp fees, activity admissions, educational apps, or product purchases.
You can make summer more educational with very little effort and a whole lot of fun. Here are a few of my ideas for keeping kids thinking.
1. Baseball games.
Baseball is loaded with math. Every time you turn around you have to do some arithmetic in your head. How many at-bats left per inning? How many strikes has the batter got left? How many runners are on base and how many hits to get them home? And that’s just the easy math.
Think of all the stats and whatnot that come from following teams and players closely. You can get all of this from watching games on TV. Or go check out a game live — minor league games can be really cheap and really fun.
2. Graphic novels.
There are graphic novels for pretty much any age, reading level, or subject area. There are graphic novel editions of popular books like the Percy Jackson series. Libraries have entire graphic novel sections.
Are they great literature? Not usually. But kids have fun reading them and simply getting a kid to read over summer is important. My son loves the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series which contains enough real history to make me feel like he’s learning something.
3. Nature centers.
Go spend an afternoon learning about local plants and animals. Go ahead and focus on weird-but-true facts about native species. See who can learn the grossest fact about an animal. Buy seedlings of native plants and grow them at home. Learn about pollinators and the ecosystems of bugs.
Kids love bugs. Turn it into an adventure, not a lecture.
4. Memory books.
I know. This sounds so Pinterest. But you can keep it really simple. Just repurpose an old phone or buy a cheap digital camera and have your kid take pictures all summer. Then print them out and paste them into a book and have your kid write captions. That gets to arts and crafts, story telling, and handwriting and computer skills. Bonus? You’ll actually have a memory book of the summer.
5. Shark Week.
Yes, this seems like just watching TV, but you’ll notice that shark week shows include geography, oceanography, biology, ecology, and environmental science. And also sharks. Which are cool.