Don’t Let the “Summer Brain Drain” Get You Down!

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Bailey Cross writes, According to the U.

According to the U.S. Department of Health, children lose about 25% of reading skills and 2.6 months of math skills over the summer. “It’s just because we’re in a different mental mode. We’re not exercising our brains like we were in school,” explained Christina Sevilla, the Executive Brain Trainer at LearningRx in Cherry Creek. The “summer slide” or “summer brain drain,” as it is often called, happens to almost every student in one way or another. While you’re watching TV and playing video games instead of working on homework or learning in school during summer vacation, there’s a good chance that by the time you head back to school in the fall, you’ll have forgotten a lot of what you’ve learned. Who wants to spend 4 to 6 weeks relearning what you forgot over the summer? If you don’t keep your mind active over the summer, you might end up doing just that. So, what can a kid do to get their brain active over the summer? “Read books, solve simple problems, do simple tasks, activity, activity, activity! Turn off the video games, turn off the game boy, turn off the television, get your little tails outside and do stuff,” suggested Jerry Perron, the owner of the Brain Workout Center. “Climb a tree, swing on a rope, row a boat, catch a fish, run, go for a swim, play basketball; there are a lot of things you can do outdoors in the summertime!””Instead of letting your mind go into that relaxed mode, where you’re sitting out by the pool and not really using your brain like you would in school, excising your brain you can actually launch ahead as far as your skills go. You’ll not only not forget what you’ve learned over the school year, but for the following year, you’ll really be prepared,” Christina said. “We tend to gravitate towards our strengths and our skills. You can’t just work on your favorite parts, like crosswords or puzzles. You have to exercise all parts of your brain to keep it in shape.” This means that if you love to read, but hate math, try asking Mom or Dad to give you a few math problems to solve every day over the summer and push yourself to work on your math skills instead of reading and only reading all of the time.Keeping your brain in shape doesn’t have to be boring. There are many games that you probably already have, or can buy for a low price that are not only fun, but great for your mind. Games like Simon, Sudoku, Checkers, Chess, Stratego, Bop-It, Legos, Slapjack, and Where’s Waldo help with things like memory, processing speed (how quickly your brain is able to collect and understand information), focous, attention, logic and problem solving. Any type of physical activity provides a huge boost for your brain. For kids who want to not only retain their skills that they’ve learned, but launch ahead, Learning RX (www.learningrx.com) offers a 5 hour a week, 12 week program full of games and activities that help students of all ages. The Brain Workout Center (www.brainworkoutcenter.com) also offers a similar, year-round program.”It’s important for everyone, whether you’re a student or not, to continue to push your thinking activities. The best way to build thinking power is to think about the brain as a muscle. Muscles will weaken when not used, and the brain will do the same thing.” Jerry stressed. So the next time you find yourself vegging out in front of the TV, turn it off and go for a bike ride, read a book, or draw a picture instead. It might just be the workout your brain needs. *****************************************************************************************Instead of playing brain-draining video games, check out some of these brain-building online games. Primary Games- www.primarygames.comGames for the Brain- www.gamesforthebrain.comFun Brain- www.funbrain.comFun School- www.funschool.kaboose.comKids Sites- www.kidssites.comCrayon Physics- www.kloonigames.com