Brain Training for Kidsby Mariève Inoue
published July 12, 2010
School is finally out, and your kids are free from studying and homework. Summer vacation is a great time for them to play outside, go to camp, and hang out with friends. But keeping their brains stimulated is important, as well, even when the sun is shining outside. We asked resource teacher Monique Dionne for tips on how to keep kids actively learning during the summer months.
Set aside time to be spent reading every day. The length of time your child should read depends on their age. Here is an idea of how long reading time can be for children going into different grades at school.
A few tips:
▪ To encourage them to read during the allotted period of time, pick up a book or magazine and take advantage of the occasion to catch up on some reading yourself.
▪ With younger children, it’s a good idea to do some “alternating reading”; in other words, you read a short book (or a chapter or page from a book) to them, and they read one back to you.
▪ Taking the kids to the library every few weeks will allow them to pick out reading material that interests them, and will provide for a fun activity to look forward to.
▪ Encourage children to read everything they can—ask them to read menus out loud when eating out, or read the street signs during road trips or when driving around running errands. Any reading is good reading!
Ask your kids to keep a summer diary. They can include anything in it; what they did during the day, or special events in their lives. They can paste pictures into it, too, as long as they describe what’s on them in words. Make this project more fun by letting them choose a special journal at the store, or by decorating a plain notebook with them.
Important note: This activity is more about getting your kids to write than perfecting their spelling; therefore, it’s important to NOT correct their spelling and grammar mistakes. Doing this will make the task seem tedious, and too similar to being at school. After all, a diary is private; you can make sure that they are writing their daily entry, but shouldn’t insist on reading it unless they offer to let you.
Book stores usually carry activity books containing fun and easy math problems, or sometimes even games that involve calculation. It’s a good idea to get one or two of these and have your kids do a few problems in them every day, but only for a few minutes. Try to include counting and calculating in daily conversation as often as you can. Have them add up quantities when helping you follow a recipe, or ask your children to calculate distances and lengths of time when travelling. The key is to keep their minds stimulated!
In general, it’s important not to make them feel like they are being asked to do schoolwork, and to keep learning fun so they don’t get fed up. After all, and they’ll have plenty of work to do come September!