Avoid the Brain Drain This Summer

Avoid the Brain Drain This Summer

Did you know that your kids could lose 40 percent of the gains they made this school year during summer break? It’s called the “summer slide” and its impact could be really discouraging when the 2021-22 school year starts back up. So how do we avoid this, and keep our kids’ brains from dumping all that important stuff they learned this year?

Don’t worry, it won’t take a teaching degree, strict schedule, and number two pencils, it will just take a little time and we’re here to help. Check out the following list, find what you think your kids will like and get started. If you encourage learning even just a couple of times a week, your kids’ brains will be better for it!    

Avoid the Brain Drain

Get Outdoors

Sign up today for the 2021 Trek the Parks Challenge! And not just because it’s part of the Des Moines Parent, but because nature has been linked to brain development. This is an easy one for us moms, we just get them there and let them go. They can run off stress, work on social interactions and be creative on their own!

Online Learning

Online learning got a bad rap during the pandemic because it was forced on many of us. That doesn’t mean we should count all online learning out though. Here are a few great sites that can keep those brains active!

  • Reading Eggs This is one of my seven-year-old’s favorite places to jump on and play. It does require a monthly fee (there’s a free trial to start) but it’s been worth it for us because we can tailor what she works on, and we get reports of how she’s doing. 
  • Starfall – This site is also kid-friendly for preschoolers to third graders. We have only used the free version, and it’s been plenty for us. There are cute videos and songs for reading and math and it’s ad-free. 
  • Typing.com – Typing speed is easy to lose without practice; this site is a free easy program to sign up for and get started on. The videos on it are cute too and not super annoying (I’m looking at you Baby Shark!). 
  • Khan Academy – We have the iPhone app version, and it’s a great one to set your kid up on and they can take it from there. The educational games and activities come with cute characters explaining what they want your kid to do and learn. 
Your School

Check your school’s web page too, some schools have grade-specific websites already bookmarked for you, like this one, so you can just click and go.   

Public Library

Public libraries are back open and ready for you this summer! We missed our library and the summer library program a ton last year, so we are ready to get back at it. If you want to help your kid find a book that’s age-appropriate or a good read-aloud, check Reading Aloud Revival. 

One caveat after the list here, if you worked with your child all school year and need a break, take it! These activities aren’t meant to add more to your plate. And if they become more of a fight with your kid, than a helpful tool, stop. We want you and your kids to like learning and summertime!

About the Author

Deciding what you want to be when you grow up is a tough question, just ask Stephanie Lovelace, because she still hasn’t decided. First, she got a degree in journalism and was a newspaper reporter and public relations specialist, then went to college again and became an elementary teacher, now she stays home, homeschools three kids, and is a freelance writer. What’s stayed steady: her supportive husband, love of pets (current counts at three dogs and four cats), and being an Iowa girl. 

Follow along with her current gig, on Instagram at @stephs_at_home.


Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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