Simple ways to help your children stay smart over the summer

Don't let all of your child's hard work throughout the school year go to waste. Here are a few easy ways to keep your child's brain sharp during the summer.

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  • We love using our summertime to explore new places and experiences and enjoy both the lazy and not so lazy days of summer. One thing we try and do is have a bit of a schedule … not an intense, inflexible one, but a general schedule that keeps us moving in the right direction. I don't over do things or have project after project but we have a few running things that happen in our house.

    Since most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency over the summer, we like to try and combat that in small ways. We end up with plenty of free time, so I don't mind making my kids do a few academic things like ...

  • Workbooks

    My favorite workbooks are the BrainQuest ones, but they stop in fourth grade so I will be looking for a new one for my oldest. We set a page goal for each day or do it for a certain amount of time. My kids generally don't mind doing this at all.

  • XtraMath

    XtraMath is an amazing, free, website for helping kids with their math facts. One round can be done in about 10 minutes.

  • Reading

    I am so lucky my boys love to read. We end up at the library often and use their hold system on a very regular basis, but I still find it important to set aside time to read during the day. Check out my boys' favorite books and series here.

  • Read-alouds

    I love reading to my kids and we always have a book going. During the summer we try and make more time for reading together.

  • A family project

    Each summer we decide on a special project that we are going to accomplish. Last year we worked on the placement of the states and capitals. We had a dry erase map of the United States and each boy took a turn each day filling in what they could remember. It was challenging and fun for all of them. This year we are moving on to naming and placing the countries of the world in the correct spot and I will keep my younger ones on states until they are finished.

    We found a great online site this year as the kids get faster and more familiar. We have also used the apps "Stack the States" and "Stack the Countries." A few of our other options that were not chosen were the names and order of the Presidents of the United States, the Periodic Table, the Constitutional Amendments, poetry memorization, and the names of all the bones in your body. These projects come in handy as they get older in school.

  • Piano

    I love using the summer to really practice the piano. All three boys play and our house is often filled with music. In the summer there are no excuses for not having "time to practice."

  • Typing

    This sounds old school, but I think typing is so important! This year my fifth grader had a few reports he had do to on the computer and the report was simple but the typing took FOREVER. Hoping to combat that a bit and give him a leg up.

  • I'm Bored list

    We created thisI'm Bored list for all those times the kids feel like they have nothing to do. It is mostly electronic free and parent free. It comes in handy every now and then.

    Some days we may get through everything, other days it won't happen at all, and that is OK. There is still plenty of time for pools, friends, museums, vacations, relaxation, and the outdoors, but I do enjoy having a little flexible direction each summer, especially when my toddler is napping. Bring on summer!

    Editor's note: This article was originally published on Brooke Romney's blog,

    em,Mom Explores Michigan

    It has been modified and republished here with permission.

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Brooke Romney is the author of Brooke Romney Writes, where she shares favorite travel destinations, great books, parenting ideas, food to eat and food for thought. She has a weakness for fall, sunshine, date night, nature, good reads, adventure, gummy candy and all things boy. After living in 5 states and 9 different cities, she now resides with her husband and 4 little men in Utah.

Website: http://brookeromney.com

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