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Your child worked hard all school year to perform at their best. But according to the National Summer Learning Association, when kids take an absolute break from education during the summer months – whether by circumstance or by design – they lose about two months’ worth of grade-level equivalency in math skills and more than two months’ worth of reading achievement. With all the potential excitement over field trips to amusement and waterparks, don’t let your child ride the slippery slide of taking too much of a mental break during summer.

Here are 10 ways the owner and director of the LearningRx in Cinco Ranch, David Midkiff, recommends to parents can fight back against the summer learning slide.

1.    Make a rainy day toy box, so kids don’t end up watching TV all day. It can consist of age-appropriate puzzles, Playdoh, circle-the-word booklets, art supplies, craft ideas, board games, and playing cards.
2.    Bookmark or print out brainteasers from sites like the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/braint.htm). Sites like www.funbrain.com offer entertaining material on spelling, reading, math, and grammar, and www.gamesforthebrain.com has classic strategy games.
3.    Buy or create a book of games you can play in the car. Even a simple game like 20 questions can help improve a child’s logic and reasoning and memory.
4.    Use sidewalk chalk as a hidden math and writing exercise. Learning is fun, after all.
5.    Have your child create a reward system for the number and level of books he or she reads over the summer.
6.    Take your children to summer library and bookstore programs. Most will post them online, but you can also request a calendar of events.
7.    Add an educational twist to hopscotch that will challenge children’s math skills. Instead of drawing the traditional hopscotch board with chalk, replicate a calculator large enough for your child to jump on the buttons.
8.    Use the summer to strengthen your student’s cognitive skills through one-on-one brain training to improve memory, visual and auditory processing, attention, and logic and reasoning. A core of strong brain skills will help them head back to school with the tools to succeed at learning in any subject.
9.    Encourage your child to learn an instrument or another language. Studies have shown a strong correlation between “arts” and “smarts.”
10.    Learn how to choose age-appropriate books for children and teens. According to Scholastic Parents Online, reading just six books during the summer break can be enough to keep a struggling reader from falling behind. A great tip for an already struggling reader or very young children is to take turns reading pages, start a chapter book that can be read in installments.

With summer break just around the corner, take the time to plan some brain activity for your child.

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