We’ve reached the point in summer vacation where the back-to-school commercials give us slight panic attacks about how much shopping we have to do. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the summertime just leads to us checking out, mentally. But just because summer is coming to an end, doesn’t mean there aren’t still tons of fun ways to get kids back into the sing of learning. Here are my top ways to avoid summer brain drain in our house.

Studies have proven that there is a correlation between long summer breaks and the decrease in retained academics by children. In fact, children may lose between one to three months of learning with a long school break, especially in the content area of math.

During the summer months, you can balance education with fun! Here are some ideas to avoid the summer brain drain.

Tips to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

Website Resources. There are now many creative ways of extending learning past the classroom. There are educational websites available on the Internet for preschool to high school aged children. For example, there are games focused on the use of math that are both fun and educational at the same time. These programs are designed to intrigue the interest of the child.

Our favorites: Learn Your TablesScience Bob, Discovery EducationWixie

Use the great outdoors. Using the good old outdoors is a great way to keep kids thinking as well as active. There are so many activities in the great outdoors that can expand a child’s mind. If you are headed to the beach, make sure your children pack a book for when they want some downtime. Camping? Have the kids go on a scavenger hunt and see how many things they can find.

Explore your hometown. There are probably many forms of sightseeing right in your town or a neighboring town that are educational and fun.  A trip to your big city to visit a well-known museum is a great learning experience but is also a lot of fun. Or go to a historical home (my kids have this on our list this year thanks to “Hamilton”). Always a hit with my family is a trip to the planetarium. You can load the kids up on science while giving them tons of fun.

Local Community Programs. Many communities offer children an opportunity to keep learning alive through fun activities related to their community and culture. These programs are often referred to as enrichment programs, as they are designed to balance academics with fun through hands-on activities. This combines learning core skills in relation to the environment, while at the same time building relationships. Many local libraries also host camps that are free of cost.

Summer reading programs. Almost every local library hosts a summer reading program to keep kids reading over the summer. To keep my kids motivated, we keep their reading logs on the refrigerator and update them with the library every few weeks. I also make sure we all (including myself) have some downtime to read every day!

The key to keeping your child active in learning is to keep your child interested in learning!