10 ways to keep kids learning for ‘summer brain gain’

summer brain gainSummer vacation is here! While students are already enjoying their summer break, it is important to keep children active and engaged to prevent learning loss that accompanies long school breaks.

“Summer break is the perfect time to turn New York City into a classroom – there are many exciting ways to engage kids in learning outside of school,” said Lauren Barr, Senior Executive, School and Branch Based Programs K-12, YMCA of Greater New York. “At the Y, we’re working with families to identify and provide child care that is safe, educational and fun to ensure that kids continue learning and are active year round.”

Research spanning more than 100 years shows that students experience summer learning loss, or “brain drain,” when they are not actively engaged in school, camp or other educational programs during the summer. On average, students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills.

Fortunately, there are ways for families to combat summer learning loss. The YMCA Of Greater New York has 10 tips to help families keep children active and engaged this summer:

  1. Play Time is Gain Time: Play is crucial to healthy brain development. Prioritize play with your kids to keep their creative juices flowing and minds working.
  2. Bring the Olympics Home: The 2016 Summer Olympics are a great opportunity to learn about new sports and even try them out as a family. Handball, anyone?
  3. Create a “Boredom” Jar: At the start of the summer, brainstorm fun activities as a family and put them on individual pieces of paper into a jar. Every time your kids complain of boredom, have them pull an activity out of the jar!
  4. Pick a Pen Pal: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a family member or friend, near or far, writing letters and postcards will give kids a chance to rehash and share their summer adventures and practice their writing in the process.
  5. Explore Your Backyard: New York City is home to more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreation facilities including pools, tennis courts and historic homes. Use time during the summer to enjoy our City’s public spaces across the five boroughs.
  6. Volunteer: You’re never too young to give back! There are many volunteer options across the City, from community gardens to soup kitchens; this summer find a volunteer opportunity your whole family is interested in and show your kids what it means to be a New Yorker who cares.
  7. Become a Library “Regular”: Make regular visits to the library so your kids always have a fresh book to read. If you can, read aloud so you enjoy the stories together.
  8. Outdoor Adventures: Sunshine with sunscreen protects your health. Take time each day to be outside, whether it’s a whole day at the beach or a walk home from the museum.
  9. Make Chores Less of a Chore: Teach responsibility and have fun while doing it. Crank up the music and you and your kids can dance through chores like folding laundry, dusting and sweeping.
  10. Enroll in Y Camp!: YMCA summer camps provide children with a variety of positive and fun experiences that build confidence, new friendships, lifelong memories and a feeling of community that will last beyond the summer. The Y offers all types of camps – more than 21 day camps across New York City; specialty sports camps and sleep away camps all accredited by the American Camping Association (ACA). – USNewswire

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