As the school year winds down, the “summer slide” may sound like a lot of fun, but it’s definitely something you’ll want your kids to stay away from this summer. It’s a phenomenon teachers know all too well—the loss of knowledge and ability that typically occurs when formal education stops during the summer.
In fact, research shows all young people experience learning losses when they don’t engage in educational activities during the summer. It’s estimated that teachers typically spend four to six weeks re-teaching or reviewing material that students have forgotten over summer break.
In many ways, the brain is like a muscle, and the adage “use it or lose it” certainly holds true. Mental exercise can keep the brain strong, just as physical exercise can keep the body strong. We have some great ways to keep your kids from “losing it” this summer. These exercises keep the brain energized while building cognitive skills—the underlying mental abilities needed to learn.
1) 20 Questions: Think of a person or thing and give your child 20 chances to narrow down what it is by asking yes or no questions. To help them improve their logic and reasoning, teach them to strategize by using questions that will significantly narrow down the categories, such as “Are they alive?” or “Do we have one at home?” This activity sharpens memory, logic, and reasoning skills.
2) Rhyme Time: Have your child choose four rhyming words, and use them to create a poem. For younger kids, simply say a word then take turns coming up with words that rhyme with it. This builds auditory analysis, verbal rhythm, and memory.
3) Speed Cards: Take a regular deck of cards and time your child as they separate it into two piles (red and black) or four piles (spades, hearts, clubs, diamonds). As they get faster, try to distract them, or give them math problems to solve as they’re working. This activity improves processing speed, divided attention, selective memory, and visual processing.
Additionally, many store-bought games can improve a wide variety of cognitive skills including:
· Simon: Improves auditory processing, memory, and processing speed.
· Uno: Strengthens logic & reasoning, memory, and visual processing and attention.
To receive a free, five-page list of activities to exercise the brain this summer, call LearningRx Nashville-Brentwood at 615-953-8899. The list includes activities for the car, store-bought games, and online games and activities that incorporate physical exercise to curb the “summer slide.”
We’re excited to partner with LearningRx to giveaway a game from the LearningRx Smart Mom’s Toybox—“Quiddler” by Set Enterprises ($13.99 value); it’s an exciting word game for ages 8+ that improves auditory processing, phonemic awareness, and problem solving! Additionally, the winner will receive a copy of the book Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart in Your Child by LearningRx founder Dr. Ken Gibson.
Additionally, Nashville Moms Blog readers who use the discount code getsmarter will receive 50% off a cognitive skills assessment at LearningRx (Nashville-Brentwood or Murfreesboro) now through April 30, 2015.
Bridgette Butler is co-owner and director of LearningRx Nashville-Brentwood. LearningRx brain training specializes in treating the cause—not the symptoms—of learning struggles. Contact the Nashville-Brentwood center at 615-953-8899 or www.learningrx.com/nashville-brentwood or the Murfreesboro center at 615-867-8717 or www.learningrx.com/murfreesboro.