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Exercise Summer Mind Muscles

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We are about to take off to spend a few weeks with the grandparents. Good times, for sure -- Kiddo will be frolicking and playing all day long, exercising those legs and getting tuckered out in the pool. Along with exercising her physical muscles this summer, she'll needs to exercise her mental muscles too. That gray matter needs some stretching and some maintenance even when school is out.

I have it pretty easy...Kiddo loves workbooks and games, both of which help to prevent the "summer slide," but I was trying to think about some other fun brain workouts. To get some more ideas, I surfed on over to the Scholastic website, with so many great ideas and nuggets of wisdom, especially on their parenting blog. Those experts, of course, suggest reading every day as one biggie you can do this summer to keep up the brainpower. Want some other hints on what to do? Here you go:

-- Play iSpy in a picture book. If even your child isn't reading yet, he can play iSpy in a picture book. Just flip open a page or go back after you've finished reading it and go at it. A perfect way to work on observation and critical thinking skills.

-- Learn a new hobby. Making complex paper airplanes, an origami kitty or plastic-loom potholders, when your child has to follow directions and practice something, it emphasizes reading comprehension as well as fine motor skills.

-- Make a summer journal. Have her at the end of the day either write about or draw about one thing that happened, stretching good memory and creativity muscles. And if your child can't write yet, she can make a picture journal.

-- Cook together. At least once a week, have your kids cook dinner with you. Again, following the directions of a recipe and finding items in the store on your shopping list both require good concentration and focused thinking skills. Add a bit of creative fun -- and good handwriting practice -- by having them make a menu and restaurant signs and so on.

-- Have a word of the day. There are so many ways to have a word of the day. There are websites like WordCentral that has a Daily Buzzword (which is run by Merriam-Webster, natch), apps (our fave is the Word of the Day app, only $0.99 at iTunes), or just break open the dictionary you have at home and find a new word each day. Make a chart, put the word up on it, and challenge everyone in the family to use it at least three times that day.

How do you prevent the summer slide? Do you have reading lists or summer assignments from school or do you make up your own?


by on Jul. 15, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Replies (31-35):
by on Jul. 20, 2013 at 7:12 AM

We are in a Reading Program at Library!

by on Jul. 20, 2013 at 7:13 AM

We also do Multiplication & Division flash cards..when he gets bored with those we find math review games online.

by on Jul. 20, 2013 at 4:16 PM

 right now we are doing a book challenge (100 books). We also have a math challenge where our goal is 1000 math minutes. This one is a little harder. We log math work from websites, flash cards, math games, etc...

by on Jul. 21, 2013 at 7:40 PM

My daughter has a bunch of books she wants to read, so she reads daily.

by on Jul. 29, 2013 at 8:55 AM

My main purpose in having kids do some summer work is to take charge of their learning. It gives them freedom to plan for themselves.

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