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Keeping Your Brain Sharp Over the Summer

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Kids’ brains are firing off constantly throughout the school year and keeping brains active helps little ones stay smart during these crucial times of academic and social development. Once school is out for the summer kids can either keep those brains active or they can settle into a summer of TV watching and video games that may leave them behind their peers once school starts back up. Young kids certainly deserve a break over the summer but even a few hours of educational activities a week can keep kids on top of academics and get them ready for all of those standardized exams that will soon become a part of life for even the youngest of students.

Art
Art is a topic only lightly touched on during the school year but this fun activity keeps the brain sharp and encourages creativity, brainstorming, and problem-solving skills that keep young minds sharp. Kids can work as a team to create new colors using only red, blue, yellow, and white paint. Little ones can make their own masterpiece or create a group project to learn important social skills such as sharing, working as a team, and electing a leader to manage the project. As an added bonus, they’ll also have fun and get a little messy (washable paint recommended).

Reading for fun
Kids read so many books during the year that they are not necessarily excited about and they often see reading as a chore that should be finished as quickly as possible. As an alternative, kids can choose reading material that will encourage them to just enjoy having an imagination. Anything age-appropriate is fine: Magazines, comics, picture books, or a fun, humorous series of adventure novels are great summer reading ideas. However, some kids will have a required list of reading and book reports to complete prior to the beginning of the year. If little ones are struggling to keep their concentration when it comes time to complete their mandatory assignments, they can work with a tutor for a few hours and get it out of the way.

Math apps
Young students love their electronics these days and are often tempted to ‘borrow’ mom’s phone so that they can play games or explore the latest apps. Kids need something to occupy their minds when standing in line at the grocery store, sitting in the back seat on a long car trip, or waiting for a sibling to get out of camp or summer school. Spending a few minutes here and there ‘playing’ with math apps can keep those minds sharp this summer.

Check out Math U See http://www.mathusee.com/e-learning/,
Counting Caterpillar https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/counting-caterpillar/id468556132?mt=8, and Mathly Hollows https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mathly-hollows/id571479644?mt=8 to get started.

Team sports
Keeping the body fit can also keep the mind fit; physical education is a key factor in an overall healthy childhood. Team sports offer young kids the opportunity to develop team spirit, deal with failure, be a gracious winner, and work on hand-eye coordination. Participating in a team sport also gives kids a chance to get some fresh air and get out some of that energy that has been stored throughout the academic year.

In short
Each kid is different and will enjoy varying activities. Regardless, it’s important for young students to keep their minds active and sharp during the summer term.

Robyn Scott is a private English tutor at TutorNerds of Orange County. She attended the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and the University of Southampton in England as a graduate student. She has worked with students from the United States, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and Africa.

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