It is Winter Break here in Reno, our kids will be out of school over three weeks. I am happy because I get to spend time with them and I don’t have to commute as much. On the down side they will soon get “bored,” my cupboards will get bare, and if I’m not careful they will get “Brain Drain” or what I like to call mushy brain. Brain Drain, Summer Brain Drain, Mushy Brain whatever we call it, is the space of time between schooling when kids are not actively learning. Our children spent the school year filling their brains with valuable information, why go back to school having to relearn everything again. Here are some of the ways I have found to keep the kids learning while still having fun.
Have a bird/animal week. Pick a new bird or wild animal each day they see in the backyard, neighborhood or on the playground at school. Use an encyclopedia or safe websites on the computer to research important facts. They can answer the following questions:
- What is their Natural Habitat?
- What foods do they eat?
- Where do they sleep?
- How many babies do they have?
- Do both parents help raise the babies?
- Where are they on the food chain?
Learn about the vegetation, trees and flowers growing in your area. Ask the following questions?
- Is it native to our country?
- Does it go dormant during the winter?
- Where does it get its nutrients?
- Do any animals rely on it for shelter or food?
Take a trip to the library and pick out a book or two. Create a reading log to keep track of their progress. Ask that they read for 30 minutes to an hour a day and write or tell you about what they have read. This helps them to recall and summarize. Each time they can log what they have read. Decide on a reward system; daily, weekly or biweekly for reaching their reading goals.
Hand written math assignments. My kids love when I write problems for them to solve. Create math tables for addition, subtraction and multiplication based on their skill level. Play math games on the computer or through a console like the Wii. There are also plenty of math printables online based on grade level.. I like to help the kids learn fractions in the kitchen. We make double batches of cookies they have to figure what is two-thirds twice, etc. When your children go back to school there won’t be any brain drain, there will be children ready to learn.