The brain is like a muscle -- you use it or lose it. During summer vacation is your child "losing it"?
Picture two different athletes. Athlete A is on a schedule where she trains ten months and then takes two months off. Athlete B trains year round. When Athlete A goes back to training after her two months of being a couch potato, she's going to feel sluggish, slow, and frustrated, while Athlete B is still in prime shape.
So, how do we, as parents, keep our children's brains in tip-top shape? Exercise your children's brains with these activities.
Writing Skills: Do your children have a favorite series of books, like The Magic Tree House or Harry Potter? They can write the next book in the series! Brainstorm the plot with your children. Provide them with a special notebook for writing the story -- and let their imagination take them on a journey. A chapter each week will really add up!
Reading: Enroll your children in your local library's summer reading program. These reading programs reward children for reading during the summer months, and are usually free to join. If your library doesn't offer a summer reading program, contact your local bookstore. Or make your own reading contest. Simply draw a chart with rewards at different levels. Every time your children reach a new level on the chart, celebrate their accomplishments!
Math: The easiest and most delicious place to incorporate math is in the kitchen. Doubling recipes, figuring fractions, adding, subtracting -- plus the experiments are yummy! It doesn't get much better than that.
Logic Skills: Teach your children the classic card games like Uno, Go Fish, Old Maid, Crazy Eights. Older kids can learn the basics of Poker and Gin Rummy.
Music: Introduce your children to new styles of music on a regular basis -- Classical, Reggae, Jazz, Blues, Opera, Soundtracks from Musicals, Classic Rock, Popular Music from the 60's-90's, Music from all over the World. Not only will it stimulate their minds, but it's a lot of fun!
Art: Go to the library and find a great book about famous works of art. With your children, look through the book and ask them which pieces they like and why. Then, give them the opportunity to recreate the art they saw in the book, using whatever materials they'd like -- chalk, paint, crayons, glue, etc. Your children will surely surprise you with their creativity.
Summer is a fun time of the year. Take these ideas and run with them. Not only will your children benefit from keeping their brains active and in tip-top shape, but you get the benefit of seeing their creative, brilliant minds at work. Have a great summer!