By Emily Turner


(KPIX 5) — Summer is coming to a close and the new school year quickly approaches. Worried about what your kids may have forgotten over the summer? Maybe you should be.

Summer “brain drain” or “summer slide” isn’t the newest amusement park ride. It’s a term used to explain the more than two months of reading skills and math skills lost over the summer – most of which have to be retaught by a staggering nine out of ten teachers, according to a comprehensive analysis published by the RAND Corporation.

Education nonprofit consultant Tamara Hamai says there are a plethora of tasks and activities that parents and caregivers can execute with kids to keep their brains active and free from summer burnout. Here are her top five activities at no or low cost to keep kinds brains engaged in a fun way:

1. Homebound reading programs – Children can go to libraries for free and read books on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Consistent reading throughout the summer reinforces skills learned in school while allowing for the use of their imagination. Parents should read with children and discuss the details within the story as well as what happens and other specifics. In addition to library reading programs, local school districts may also provide reading programs as well.

2. Create science projects – Science projects that can be easily completed by school age children are readily available on various websites and books that can be found at local libraries. Science projects help to practice with cause and effect as well as experimentation. Additionally math and problem solving skills are positively impacted by the tasks within these projects. From making slime to simple bubble experiments, children can create fun yet educational science assignments.

3. Make your own book – Writing a book from scratch employs various skills learned in school including reading and writing as well as art skills and the use of their imagination. Creating a book helps with
hand writing and communication as well and provides a platform for children to develop a keepsake that can be saved for years to come.

4. Learn another language – Dual language learning increases academic performance across the board for school age children. Language immersion can be as simple as watching a children’s program that utilizes multiple languages such as Dora The Explorer to playing multilingual games online from various websites.

5. Start a business – Children can start their own business and work within an industry that interests them helping to influence their passions and creativity. These early displays of entrepreneurship go beyond merely making money but teach children valuable lessons about organization, money management, problem solving and communication.

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