6 Tips to Combat Summer Brain Drain

With the summer break almost here, parents are looking for ways to combat the upcoming summer brain drain. According to research from the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, students typically lose one to two months of reading and math skills during the summer break.

VTech 6 Tips to Combat Summer Brain Drain

To help parents, VTech, makers of age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children, has these smart tips to help promote summer learning fun.

"Children's brains develop at a remarkable pace and don't take a break just because school is out," said Dr. Lise Eliot, parenting author and expert in child and brain development. "To help their children continue to thrive over the summer months, parents should offer fun experiences that encourage learning and exploration, and, allow them to expand their knowledge."

Here are 6 smart tips to help combat Summer Brain Drain and promote summer learning fun:

  1. Utilize learning toys – Learning toys are a great way to help children stay mentally sharp during vacations, while also allowing them to explore and have fun. Look for toys like VTech's InnoTab 2S Wi-Fi Learning App Tablet, one of the first children's learning based tablets with Wi-Fi. This tablet features a secure wireless connection to VTech's comprehensive app store, the Learning Lodge™, where children can easily browse a variety of the highest-quality educational content to help prevent Summer Brain Drain, create a wish list and send the list right to their parents' e-mail.

    If parents choose to approve the wish list, the purchases are sent wirelessly, directly to the InnoTab 2S. The entire InnoTab range of products opens up a world of age-appropriate educational content across the widest variety of curriculums, from downloads to software cartridges, combining innovative technology with a developmental learning tool that grows with a child and makes learning fun.
  2. Read, read, read! – The benefits of reading to children are enormous, including helping language and speech development, expanding their vocabulary and building a lifetime love of reading. Children who read more perform better in school, so parents should absolutely continue reading to their children during the summer months. Visit the local library often and let children choose books that interest them or consider using e-books on InnoTab 2S as a fun alternative.

    The highlighted words help children intuitively follow along. By the end of the year, the Learning Lodge will have over 90 e-books and deluxe e-books, split into age-appropriate levels. Starting at $2.99, the e-books include popular titles such as "The Princess and The Pea" (ages 5-8), "Jack and the Beanstalk" (ages 4-7) and "The Ugly Duckling" (ages 3-6). Available for $14.99, the range of deluxe e-books, with added features such as reading games, animated characters and interactive scenes, includes children's favorite characters such as "Disney Fairies Tinkerbell" (ages 5-8), "Cars 2" (4-7) and "Winnie the Pooh" (ages 3-6).
  3. Look for teachable moments – Our daily lives are filled with opportunities to teach our children. Following a new recipe for dinner? Let your child help read and measure the ingredients. Balancing your checkbook? Let your child put their math skills to use. Going on a road trip? Let your child look for specific signs along the way and follow along on a map. Then extend the fun at home by downloading new apps that teach similar skills, such as "Globe", "Treasure Hunt" and "Key to the Map," onto the InnoTab 2S via the Learning Lodge.
  4. Plan educational outings – You don't have to plan an extravagant vacation to teach a child about culture and customs. Museums and local historical societies can teach children about history, dinosaurs and art. A local zoo or aquarium can teach children about new animals, and educational apps can reinforce what they've learned, such as those featuring Dora the Explorer, who is often on an adventure learning about and rescuing animals with her cousin Diego. You can often find free summer concerts that can expose your child to new styles of music and dance as well. Continue the musical education on InnoTab 2S with the MP3 player and KidiJamz music albums full of fun, preschool songs, found on the Learning Lodge.
  5. Consider a summer program – There are camps and summer programs for nearly every interest. If your child enjoys acting, look for a Shakespeare Theater camp. If your child likes homemade experiments, look for a science camp. For a child who needs more help in school, look for a summer learning program, which has been proven to raise school performances. Local libraries also often have free summer programs that appeal to a variety of interests. Once home, download relevant content from the Learning Lodge, including science titles such as "World of Science," "Bugsby's Space Adventure" and "Sesame Street's Fairy Tale Science Fair."
  6. Encourage savings – Saving money is a great way to put children's math skills to use. Let children count the coins in their piggy bank. Show them how much they will need for something they are saving for and if they're old enough, teach them how to create a budget to reach their goal. Let them clip coupons with you and put the money saved into their piggy bank. Playing "store" with your child and using coins or pretend money is another great way to utilize math skills.

    There are 32 dedicated math learning games on VTech's Learning Lodge, including "Cab Tab" and "Checkout Stand" which specifically teach kids about counting money. There are also math games for those as young as age 3, including the ever-popular "Hide N Beak" and "Ant Harvest." Kids can even improve their math skills while playing with games with their favorite characters through VTech's exclusive range of software cartridges such as "Team Umizoomi", "Disney/Pixar Brave" and "Disney Minnie."

The Learning Lodge currently features more than 350 educational games, e-books, music and videos developed specifically for each child's unique stage of development, as well as with their age and interests, with content expanding to offer a robust library of more than 600 titles by the end of the year.

The broad library of subjects includes reading, math, social studies, science, creativity, problem solving and so much more! The Learning Lodge also includes videos from children's favorite characters, such as Mike the Knight, Team Umizoomi, Dora the Explorer, Thomas & Friends, Angelina Ballerina, Sesame Street and more. Children can explore this content, pick their favorites, create a wish list and even send the list right to their parents' e-mail.

Parents can also track their child's progress through the online progress log, offer encouragement and share in their pride when kids reach new learning milestones.

For more information about the complete VTech product range, visit www.vtechkids.com

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