Don’t Let Your Kids Check Out for the Summer – by Betsy Hill

Summer is a carefree time for kids but what parents should know is that it’s the perfect opportunity to stimulate the growth of a child’s mind. And it can be fun for the whole family.  Here are three activities to try:

1.  The “Think and Listen” – A parent and child agree to “think out loud” about a topic of mutual interest: the menu, the weather, world peace, etc.  Each person agrees to speak for the same length of time, the listener never interrupting.  The “Think and Listen” gives the thinker good practice identifying thoughts and articulating them.  Just a few Think and Listens can make children more articulate and confident. They are more likely to do well in class discussions and to express ideas that are important to them.

2.  The “Restaurant Review” – Give summer vacations more “mental meat” by writing restaurant reviews with your children after dining out. This is a good way to work cognitive skills such as memory, sustained attention, creativity and prioritizing of values. Those skills will come in handy next fall, when it becomes very important when reviewing for an exam.   

3.   The “Visual Scavenger Hunt” – When planning a summer trip, develop a list of things you might see along the road – the kids can help with the research – and give each child a list to check off as they find the items. Include a mixture of common objects, like a stop sign or a gas station, and rarer objects … like a jewelry store, a cemetery, a cactus, a purple flower, a black squirrel …. The mixture of objects will help sustain interest and balance the difficulty of finding one with the feeling of discovering a treasure when something rare is spotted.  This simple game strengthens focus, visual discrimination and memory skills.

Of course, don’t forget that BrainWare Safari comprehensively develops 41 cognitive skill fundamental to learning.  Because it’s in an engaging video-game format, it can be another way to have fun and be better prepared for a dynamic year of learning when a new school year rolls around.


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