Loss Of Brain Power
According to a study by the John Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning, “all students regardless of socio-economic status, lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation over the summer months.” They speculate that the reason for this is that students just don’t do any mathematical thinking over the summer. (I believe an additional reason for this is because students never really learn the math in the first place, but we can save that argument for another time.)
This statistic doesn’t really surprise me at all. As the saying goes, “If you don’t use it, you lose it!” The brain needs consistent exercise to stay fresh and grow.
I have three simple activities that will help you keep your brain and your kids’ brains fresh this summer.
#1 Logic Puzzles
I know I have talked about these a lot, like in this previous blog post, The Key To Elevating Math, but I have yet to find something more effective at building brain power than logic training.
One way to make logic training work over the summer is to get a binder and print out several for them to work on. They can pull the binder out in the car on road trips, enjoying the fresh mountain air, or waiting to pick siblings up from summer camp. When the logic puzzles are printed and available, kids are more likely to do them.
There are so many math and thinking games that your family can enjoy over the summer that will keep the whole family thinking and they don’t have to be long or complicated. Here is a link for 5 of our favorite math games for the whole family. LINK
They don’t even have to be just math games. Any game that involves strategy will help kids keep their brains fresh. Some of our family favorites are Rage, Clue, Stratego, Risk, Wildlife Adventure, Take Off, Farkle, Set, Bang, and many more.
This one is going to sound incredibly simple, but one of the best things you can do for your kids to keep them engaged in thinking is to ask them questions. Specifically questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Reason with them about their answers and ask a lot of follow up questions. Push their thinking and make them prove to you that their answers are correct or even just reasonable assumptions. Here are some of my favorite questions:
- What does this mean?
- Why did you do it that way?
- How do you know?
- Can you prove it?
- How does this relate to what we already know or what we have done before?
- Why does that work?
- What happened last time?
- What if we changed something or tried something different?
- I’m not so sure about that, can you explain that differently?
The more you make this part of your regular interactions with your kids, especially outside of math time, the more they will start to think logically in all aspects of their lives, not just math.
Share The Fun
If you have other games or activities you do over the summer to help engage your kids and get them thinking, I’d love to know about them and share them with everyone! Just send me a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of all over the summer, enjoy playing and spending time with your kids. Summer is a great time to build memories that will last forever!