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Six Free Ways to Reduce Summer Brain Drain


The National Summer Learning Association found that students can lose up to two months of mathematical computation skills over the summer months. The group also found that teachers spend three weeks of the new school year going over what kids forgot in the summer.

Summer brain drain is always a problem. The Summer of 2021 may be even more hectic for families due to:

  • COVID regulations limiting capacity for some camps.
  • Many parents still must work from home.
  • Kids are excited to finally get outside for summer fun with their friends.

Experts from The Ohio State University suggest that an hour a day spent on reinforcing key skills from the last academic year can limit the amount of summer skills loss. It doesn’t have to be sitting at a desk and plowing through workbooks or flashcards. Math skills can be incorporated into cooking dinner or baking a cake, while at the grocery store children can count the number of items put into the cart. Those long summer drives are a great time to brush up on phonics by reading the street signs.

Keeping kids engaged over the summer break can be stressful and time consuming. As Ohio’s sole public funding source dedicated to child abuse and child neglect prevention, the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund (OCTF) found six free options to keep Ohio’s kids moving forward this summer season.

Always Remember

It usually takes a week for a transition to fully stick; so, be patient and overcommunicate if kids push back on any of these ideas. Parents or care providers with other concerns should remember The Ohio Children’s Trust Fund is here to help with free resources that address many common parenting questions.

Summer should be fun. It should also be a growth opportunity for the children in your lives. With some simple planning and free resources, you can ensure the only slide your child sees this summer is on a playground or pool.

Ask and React

Some of the best summer adventures are the ones children guide.

  • If they are interested in some extra allowance, make a lemonade stand.
  • If they like art, paint.
  • If they talk about animals all the time, go outside and look for friendly creatures.

When parents empower kids to learn more about things of interest to the child, it fosters enthusiasm that can apply to all subject matters.

Ohio Governors Imagination Library

More than 100,000 children have already gotten involved in this new program to promote early childhood literacy in Ohio. Kids between birth and age five are eligible for FREE books every month. You can enroll your child in 30 seconds and have plans in place for a rainy day.

Reading Challenge

Several studies show healthy competition can boost a student socially, emotionally, and academically. Libraries across Ohio have summer reading challenges that connect young people with age-appropriate materials. Parents working from home can visit a location, let their kids curl up with a good book, and cross off work projects in silence.

Blind Them with Science

There’s a reason Center for Science and Industry (COSI) earned the top science museum in the country award from USA Today. A big reason for this honor is COSI Connects. The online resource guide features dozens of active learning experiences anyone can safely do from home. Parents and care providers can also search by age and subject matter to make sure kids of any age can get involved.

Make Screen Time Matter

Parents vs. screen time will be a battle for everyone this summer. There are times where kids have to be in front of a screen. Make the most of it with PBS for Parents. There are 795 different activities kids can do, with directions that turn screen time into activity time.

Look Back to Look Ahead

Animals. Sports. Cars. Clothes. Every child has a passion. The Ohio History Connection is tasked with preserving and sharing Ohio stories. It has nearly 2 million artifacts. Curators have used some of those artifacts and created activities to engage students of any age. It features a mix of video, articles, and hands-on experiences with items you probably have around the house. It’s a great way to spark discovery without ever leaving the living room.