Thursday, June 24, 2010

Brain Power Activities for Kids this Summer

With the "screen" temptation of hand-held games, TV games and computer games, parents are at a loss on how to help their kids manage their time during summer break. Here's some helpful tips that you can print off and share with your children.

1. Limit your screen time to 30 minutes a day. This way you're not cutting it out all together but limiting it to allow for other activities.

2. Don't forget the good old board games on a rainy day. This allows for the kids to congregate in your garage and enjoy some 'thinking and sharing" time while you get stuff done inside the house. Start a marathon with Monopoly, Life or some other board game.

3. Read some classics. Summer is the best time to enjoy the classics without having to take notes or give an oral report. Just enjoy it! Help your student find a few books to tackle this summer with the help of a librarian or check -out the book: Honey for A Child's Heart; The Imaginative use of Books in Family Life, By: Gladys Hunt. This book is great because it does the thinking for you. You and your child can scan the book for some great, well-written classics (or not so classic) and then check them out at the library.
If you would like to have these books on your own home shelf, check out This website allows you to load books you no longer want and earn credits each time another user requests them. Then you use your credits to request books you desire from someone else. The only cost is the cost to ship your books out. You do not pay to have someone ship to you.
Your kids can enlist other neighbor kids to start a summer reading club.

4. Get out and explore! After all, this is our world and it pays to know something about it. Summer is the time to learn about, bugs, flowers, trees, animals, etc... Nature activities can be shared with siblings and friends. The sky's the limit if you wish to purchase some great nature resources.
Here's just a few of the many: which offers a down-loadable Safari Pop Guide, Essential Field Tips and Gear that you can purchase such as a vest, binoculars, lantern, water case, a really cool bug vacuum and more. offers a huge inventory of microscopes, books, bacteria stains and a Backyard Naturalist's Backpack Kit for ages 5 on up.
Don't forget about your local State Parks that offer classes and guides, usually for a nominal fee or free, plus the cost of a day pass or annual sticker.

5. Start a garden. It doesn't have to be big and can be maintained by your child. They can learn about the effects of too much water, too little water, earthworms and good soil. A small square is all that's needed in a sunny location of your yard. Mix an easy to grow item such as chives with a harder to grow item such as tomatoes or cucumbers. This will maximize learning and they can check-out books at the library on companion planting. Let them be the boss with this one.

Have a fun summer!

Published by Tina Szybisty, RD
Ann Arbor Health News Examiner

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