Before you know it, the school year will be over, and it will be time for summer break. Your kids have earned this break, and while some might be ready to increase their hours at a part-time job, get involved in team sports, or immerse themselves in their favorite hobby, others might need a little help figuring out how to spend their time off this summer. Either way, your students will need their brains rested. The trick is to prevent the summer slide—a brain so rested that it isn’t ready to start the new school year at the end of summer break.
How do you balance the need for your students to relax with the need to keep their brains sharp? At Train the Brain, we have some experience helping students avoid the summer slide while still having the chance to enjoy their summer break. Here are our top suggestions for activities that will do just that.
Visit Museums or Historical Sites
One bonding activity that you might not have had much time for during the busy school year is a family trip to nearby history, cultural, science, or art museum. A lot of positive family memories can be made going to nearby museums, and a quick internet search will probably help you find more options than you might think. Many towns have county historical societies that run museums to give you a chance to learn about the area in which you live. Providing your children with the historical background about the places they live, work, and play will alter their perspective and give them a broader point of view about their community.
Cultural museums give you and your students insight into the big world we live in, helping your children understand that the world is a lot smaller than we sometimes think. Another benefit to cultural museums is to help them see the common bonds that all of humanity share as well as the beauty of the variety of cultures the world holds.
Science museums will encourage your children with any interests they might already have in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. Curiosity about the world and how things work grows through visits to science museums. They can learn about weather systems, aeronautics, body systems, and future technologies at most science museums. A love of all things STEM is important for most future careers, and if your student already has an interest in these topics, a trip to a science museum can help encourage that further.
Art museums can be an interesting opportunity for time as a family, especially if your children are high school aged. Your students will have a chance to apply both critical and creative thinking when you expose them to a variety of art. Exposing students to art can spark an interest in design and open their eyes to a new way of viewing the world around them.
Taking trips to historical sites, either nearby or requiring a short day-trip, is a great way to get your family outdoors in the summer air while learning a little bit about history and culture. You can use the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places to find historically significant locations near your hometown.
Encourage Career or Interest Exploration
If a trip to a museum or historical site sparks interest in your student, encourage them to investigate it further through independent research. Finding activities and interests that your student is passionate about is the best way to keep them active over those summer months.
Of course, you don’t want to drive any interest away by pushing too hard, but exploring their own interests is a wonderful way for your child to demonstrate independence while also keeping their brains fresh.
If your student is in high school and thinking about their future career path, encouraging them to take career interest surveys like those offered through Career One Stop, can help your student understand that there are more career options than they ever thought possible.
Once they do that, they might even be interested in researching about what types of courses they could take to prepare themselves before heading to college to study in their chosen field.
Read Every Day
One of the best ways to keep your student’s brain engaged is to encourage a bit of reading each day. It doesn’t matter what type of book your student is reading; graphic novel and historical accounts are equally helpful in keeping your student’s mind active. What matters most is that about twenty to thirty minutes of reading each day will do a world of good when it comes to avoiding the summer slide.
To encourage this behavior in your children, consider modeling it yourself by reading as a family. Shutting down the house for twenty to thirty minutes each day could even become a habit you teach your child that they will continue for their lifetime.
Play Critical Thinking Games
Family friendly critical thinking games are also a great way to bond as a family during the time that is usually spent for studying and homework in the evenings. Some of these games can even be played while you’re eating dinner as a family.
Games such as Chess, Dominoes, Ticket to Ride, Blokus, Battleship, The Settlers of Catan, Exploding Kittens, Chess, and Risk are exciting strategy games that your family can enjoy together. These games will engage your children’s minds and help your family bond, making memories that will last far beyond the long summer days.
Each of these options will engage you and your children in activities that encourage mental engagement, curiosity, and family bonding. Involving your children in making exciting plans for the summer that includes spending time in positive activities can start today. Get ready to avoid the summer slide by starting your plans now; summer will be here before you know it, and then the fun can really begin.
Tutoring at Train The Brain will match a specialist tutor with the specific course or subject of your choice. Summer doesn’t have to be a time of complete learning loss! All it takes is a little support from the right people to help keep you on track. If you’re looking for online tutoring or homework help, sign up for an account today or call us anytime at 888-299-3506 for more information.