5 Easy Tips to Avoid the Summer Brain Drain

by Meredith Hoffman

Summer break for kids is just that- a break from their academic careers. This is their opportunity to don swimwear and chase down the ice cream trucks. While summer is supposed to be time to recharge, unfortunately it is also the time when many kids lose a lot of what they learned the year before. Research shows that children can lose up to two months or more of academic progress levels during their summer break. This can make any parent wonder what they can do to prepare their kids for the next year’s curriculum without sending them to Summer school.


Here are our top five fun and easy tips to defeat the Summer Brain Drain!

  • Local Museums. There are plenty of historical museums, houses and sites in and around the Chicago area. Many include interactive tours for kids of all ages to stimulate their appreciation for history.
  • Read. Easier said than done, right? But the more kids read, the more interpretive and cognitive skills will develop. For younger kids, label things in your house and have them spell it out with you (mirror, toaster, etc.). For reading-aged kids, have them pick out books from a favorite author or genre and talk about it as they read.
  • Get the neighborhood involved. If you have a lot of kids in your neighborhood, consider setting up a weekly play date on a rotating basis. At each house have the host parent do something, whether it is a fun (safe) science experiment or a reading circle. It will bring in more kids, making learning seem like fun.
  • Go shopping. Taking the kids on a shopping trip can be an excellent way to learn. Have them help you find the items in the store so they can learn what items go together and why. Have the older kids do mental math to see how much you’ve already spent, keeping their math skills sharp.
  • Get cooking. After that long shopping trip, have them help you make a meal. It will teach them the basics of measuring, fractions, chemistry and teamwork.