Summer Fun Brain Boosters

Summer vacation may be upon us with kick back days relaxing at the beach but our children can still be learning. Summer is a great time for experiential learning, review and reinforcement of last year’s skills, and a chance to preview what’s to come next September. Studies show that students lose one to three months of learning after a long summer vacation. Before you stick your head in the sand, check out some family friendly ways to combat summer brain drain and make summer learning FUN!

Keep Counting! 6 Everyday Ways to Play with Math

  • Lemonade Stand Nothing says summer more than a homemade lemonade stand. Kids have a chance to measure ingredients, set prices, figure out cost per serving, count money and provide change, and calculate profits.
  • Take Me Out to the Ball Game This national pastime allows for a great day cheering for your favorite team as your child graphs the batter’s balls and strikes, outs per inning, calculates batting averages, or the cost and change due when buying a ballpark hotdog and soda.
  • In the Kitchen Cooking is a great activity with yummy treats to eat at the end. Teach your child to sort ingredients, use fractions when measuring, or multiply if doubling a recipe.
  • Let’s Go Shopping! Teens love to shop. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach about the value of money, budgeting, as well as using percentages, fractions, and decimals to calculate sale prices. For example, if a $25 item is 15% off, how much does it cost?
  • Construction Kids Whether you are building a birdhouse, dollhouse, or a tree house construction allows kids to use their creativity while learning to measure, calculate angles and square footage, all while developing their algebra and geometry skills.
  • Green Thumb Gardeners know about math because they measure how far apart vegetable rows need to be and how deep to plant seeds. Plus it’s a real world way for kids to experience nature and healthy eating.

ABC…5 Everyday Ways to Play with Reading

  • I Spy For little learners, play I Spy as you drive on a family vacation, have a picnic, or wait on line at the amusement park. Ask children to find an object that starts with a particular letter. For example, “I spy with my little eye something that starts with B.” The same can be done with letter sounds and rhyming words.
  • Summer Reading Challenge Setting goals can be a powerful motivator. Scholastic offers a free online reading program for children. Kids can read and log minutes all summer, unlock stories and earn rewards, and be part of setting a new reading world record! For more information,
  • Book-Themed Celebrations Plan some special activities on your calendar to enhance the reading experience. Go to the local ballet after reading the Angelina Ballerina Watch the moviepenpal after reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Visit the zoo or a farm after reading Charlotte’s Web.
  • Pen Pals Writing letters or postcards are fun ways to practice reading, writing, and spelling. Write a letter to a sibling at overnight camp, a far away grandparent, or even your neighborhood friend. Do it the old-fashioned way by snail mail or e-mail works too!
  • Mad Libs (ages 9+) This family game comes with fill-in-the-blank stories that teach grammar in a fun and silly way. Kids learn adjectives, verbs, nouns, exclamations, and other parts of speech. Mad Libs Junior (ages 5-8) provides grouped word lists matched with symbols to assist younger learners.

Review, Strengthen, & Preview

For children at risk who have been struggling with learning, consider enriching their summer with more structured programs or tutoring aimed at building skills. Summer is an opportunity to review concepts that challenged them during the school year, strengthen their reading, writing, and math development, and pre-teach some skills that they will learn in the grade ahead. Quality educational remediation with a learning specialist can help children, especially those with learning difficulties, to prevent regression of skills over the summer months and instead help children to feel better prepared when they return to school in the fall.

Summer is also the perfect time for children and teens to build working memory skills, which are important for everything from learning the alphabet, following short or multi-step directions, completing mental arithmetic, reading comprehension, completing activities or homework independently, sustaining focus and interest, and even participating in team sports. Westchester Child Therapy offers Cogmed Working Memory Training, a web-based intervention that combines neuroscience, innovative computer game design, and close professional support to deliver substantial and lasting benefits to its users.

For more information about summertime learning and educational remediation or our Cogmed Working Memory training contact: