Summer Learning Loss

Best Brain Foods for Kids

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Summer gives students a well deserved break. It’s a great time for them to play with friends, enjoy the warm weather, and stretch their legs after a year in the classroom.

With all that fresh air, be sure they’re eating healthy too. Don’t let your child’s brain grow hungry this summer by feeding them these seven brain boosting foods:

1. Eggs

The protein and nutrients in eggs help kids concentrate. Choline, found in egg yolks, also helps with memory development.

2. Greens

Spinach and kale make for great brain foods as they are linked to a decreased risk of developing dementia later in life due to the abundance of folate and vitamins. Kale is also a superfood packed with antioxidants, promoting the growth of brain cells.

3. Fish

Fish is a great source of vitamin D and omega-3s, which aid in preventing memory loss. The more omega-3s the brain receives, the better it functions and the better your child can focus.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is an excellent source of energy for the brain in the morning that keeps the brain functioning at full potential throughout the day. Loaded with protein, fiber, and vitamins, oatmeal keeps heart and brain arteries clear.

5. Berries

Berries promote high levels of antioxidants, especially vitamin C. Studies have shown that the extracts of blueberries and strawberries have shown improved memory. Typically, the more intense the color, the more nutrition the berry has.

6. Milk & Yogurt

Dairy foods are rich in protein and B-vitamins which are essential for the growth of brain tissue, neurotransmitters, and enzymes. These brain foods also provide protein and carbohydrates – the preferred source of energy for the brain.

7. Summer Learning Programs

In addition to these superfoods, you can outsmart brain drain by enrolling your child in a summer learning program. Elementary students with high levels of attendance (at least five weeks) experience benefits in math and reading.

It may not be brain food, but the ThinkStretch Summer Learning Program will surely keep your child’s skills sharp. ThinkStretch is designed to encourage kids to maximize their education during their months off. Simple to start and easy to use, our workbook is equipped with everything you and your student need to make for a successful transition back to school in the fall. To kickstart your child’s summer curriculum, download a FREE info kit here.

7 Educational Summer Activities for Kids

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When kids finish up with school, summer can feel long and boring. If you don’t have a whole slew of educational activities to keep children occupied, their brains could fall into the clutches of summer learning loss! That’s why we’ve put together this list of seven educational summer activities for kids to keep their minds sharp all vacation long.

1. Visit a Local Museum

You don’t always have to travel far to find some history. Many different areas have a museum to celebrate the local history. Take the kids to check it out and learn about the interesting past of where you live! You can even turn your trip into a game of eye spy! Challenge the children to look for places or things they recognize from around town in the displays from the past!

2. Create an Outdoor Puppet Show Theatre

Sometimes a blanket over a table and some socks with googly eyes can be exactly what kids need to keep entertained. Ignite your kids’ arts and crafts skills by helping them assemble a makeshift theatre and cast of sock puppet actors. If their imagination isn’t enough to fuel a skit, give them a picture book or two and tell them to reenact the books with their puppets!

3. Visit a Petting Zoo

Often local farms or parks will hold petting zoos for children to come meet animals they may have never encountered otherwise. This is a great chance to learn about different types of animals, how they live, where they live, and how to take care of them! Before you leave, ask what their favorite animal was. Head to the local library to pick up a book on that animal, so you can learn even more about them!

4. Backyard Camping

Pitch a tent in the yard and enjoy the sounds of nature – or the city – for all their glory. Make s’mores in the oven or microwave, eat hot dogs and hamburgers, and don’t forget the bug spray! See if you can identify any plants or animals around your campsite. When night falls, take that time to look up at the night sky and see if you can spot any constellations! Camping is fun wherever you do it!

5. Visit a Farmer’s Market

Farmer’s Markets are filled with food and creations from local artists, farmers, and craftsmen. Explore all the different flowers, treats, and crafts that you can’t find at a regular store! Here, you have the opportunity to expose kids to different walks of life and cultures. If nothing else, you’ll get some tasty fruits and veggies out of it!

6. Dig for Fossils

This trip takes a little pre-prep. First, find a spot that kids will be able to dig around comfortably in, like a sandbox or playground. Next, bury various toy dinosaurs, gems, or other treasures for them to find. Give the kids shovels and paint brushes so they can unearth the fossils and clean them like real archeologists! This is a great way to teach them about what archeology is and how we use it to discover things about the past!

7. Check out the Library

As always, a great place to spend your summer is in your local library! Libraries have so many different books for all kinds of readers and interests. You can be an astronaut AND a cowboy in the same day with the help of a good book! Children can also log all of the time they spend reading for our Summer Reading Challenge for the chance to win a FREE Kindle!

Plan Your Educational Summer Activities!

With all of these educational summer activities, your kids won’t have any time to be bored! Constant engagement will not only keep them busy, but keep their brains working hard to stay sharp.

Year after year, summer learning loss tries to hold kids back from reaching their full potential in school. Use these educational summer activities along with our Summer Learning Program to keep the skills your student learned during the school year fresh all vacation long!

Order your child’s Summer Learning Program here.

What Administrators Can do About Summer Learning Loss

What Administrators Can do About Summer Learning Loss 300 200 admin

As an administrator, you work hard to provide the students in your school or district the best possible chance of success through learning opportunities, great teachers and a well-spent budget. Therefore it can be hard to watch them walk out the door and into the summer sunset knowing they face the possibility of huge learning losses before they return the following year.

Not only do kids face losing mathematics and spelling skills, reportedly the first to go when kids are away from school for any stretch of time, but low-income students are likely to slide on reading skills as well.

While some groups have argued for making school year-round and others point out that American kids spent significantly less time behind their desks than competitors in Europe and Asia, you can’t do much about the length of the school year at this point. So what can you do?

There Is An Answer

Luckily, there is one thing you can offer to help stop summer slide, and that’s a high-quality option for summer learning.

According to the RAND Corporation, programs during the summer months have the power to reverse these losses and help students enter their next year in the same or better shape than they left the last one.

Their 2011 report Making Summer Count: How Summer Programs Can Boost Children’s Learning explains, “A review of the literature on Summer learning loss and summer learning programs, coupled with data from ongoing programs offered by districts and private providers across the United States, demonstrates the potential of summer programs to improve achievement.”

The Best Form for Summer Learning

Most savvy administrators know, however, that the bulk of the responsibility for halting Summer learning loss will still rest on parents’ shoulders, no matter how motivated teachers are to step in. The question becomes how to offer a viable program that will benefit kids but that won’t tax parents and in which those driven teachers can play a role.

ThinkStretch is the answer. It’s a comprehensive summer review program, specific to grade level, that helps ensure kids are ready to start learning new material in the fall, rather than relearning what they’ve forgotten over the summer. Complete with educational workbooks, parent guides and ideas for family engagement, it’s fully set up to help the whole family focus on summer learning.

As for your teachers, who want to stop Summer learning loss in its tracks? They can become coordinators, helping to educate parents about the program and leading the awards ceremony for partially and fully completed workbooks in the fall.

Ready … Set … STOP Summer Learning Loss

You can do your students a huge favor simply by making ThinkStretch available in your school. With teacher support and parent enthusiasm, you can make summer learning a reality for many children, benefiting them, their families and your school or district.

Why wait? Explore your options for boosting summer retention and learning today.