With the arrival of summer, chances are you’re already in the midst of planning exciting family road trips and sun-soaked afternoons filled with bike rides, swimming, and ice cream cones topped with sprinkles. While summer is definitely a season for fun and relaxation, it’s equally crucial to keep your child’s brain active, even during those off-school months.

You might be familiar with the “summer slide” (or “summer brain drain”), but are you familiar with the research that backs it up? In a study from Duke University, it turns out that when students go back to school in the fall, they’ve actually lost about one to three months’ worth of learning, with math being the subject that suffers the most.

In honor of June being both World Productivity and Brain Awareness Month, we thought we’d share a brain-boosting summer blueprint to keep kids out of a summer slump. Here are 5 fun ways to keep your child’s brain engaged all season long.


1. Establish a routine family game night

Pick one evening every week for some quality time together, engaging in board games with the entire family. This activity not only promotes bonding but also reinforces essential skills. Games like CandyLand and Chutes & Ladders offer young children a playful way to learn fundamental skills like counting, color recognition, and taking turns. As kids grow older, more advanced games like Scrabble and Monopoly open doors to valuable learning opportunities. These games foster language skills, strategic thinking, and social interaction, making them both enjoyable and educational.

2. Embark on a read-a-thon challenge

Create a summer reading list and set aside a dedicated family reading time, where everyone in the family can delve into their favorite books. Ask your child to pick their favorite passages and read them aloud to you. Afterward, take turns discussing and sharing insights about the captivating stories you’ve all explored.

3. Put their memory skills to the test

Engage your child in an exciting challenge of memorization by encouraging them to commit a beloved song or story to memory. Alternatively, foster teamwork by organizing a group of kids to put on an entertaining short play, showcasing their memorization prowess.

4. Plan and cook a meal together

Cooking and baking are great ways to include math, science, and reading into a family activity. Whether your child helps you find the perfect recipe, measure ingredients, or read instructions, you’ll be boosting major brain skills in the kitchen.

5. Take them on a nature adventure

Exploring the outdoors gives children new objects to play with and exciting forms of the natural world to discover and marvel at. The outdoors also provides space for physical play that’s not only essential to children’s motor development but adults’ physical and mental health as well, making it a great activity to do together as a family.

Go for a walk in a park or nearby nature trail, counting or naming insects, birds, trees, or rocks. Take a bike ride with the goal of finding certain numbers or letters on signs. Plan your route using a map and if appropriate, kids can calculate distance and speed or simply time segments of the trip.