Brain boosters to stop the summer slide

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Teachers call it The Summer Slide!  When the kids start forgetting what they learned in school and actually start turning a bit to mush.  As the school year gets ready to begin or if you’re a home schooler and are gearing up to start a new year at home.  Here are a couple of ideas to get the brain gears going again. 

Make a simple flipbook
You’ll need a small stack of paper, index cards or post its.  Staple or tape the top together to form a pad.

Now to make a picture look like it’s moving, draw the same thing, but make it move a little on each page.

Here’s an easy one to start with – make a face go from a frown to a smile.  Start on the last page of your pad and draw the first drawing.  Just draw a circle with 2 eyes.  Don’t draw in the mouth – you’ll do that later.

Copy just the circle and the eyes onto all other papers.  These parts will stay the same.

Now draw in the mouth.  Begin with drawing a frown. Add the mouth on each additional page but make it slowly straighten out and start to curve upward into a smile.  Slowly end with it in a full smile.  Remember to change the mouth a little at a time.

Flip it forward and backwards to make your face smile and frown and you have your own mini-movie.
Activities for the new reader or reading readiness

Labels, labels, labels
Label things in your children's room as they learn to name them. They’ll learn that written words are connected to everyday things.
Recipe for reading. The next time you cook with your children, read the recipe with them. This is a great way to get them reading or listening as school gets closer.

Shop and read. Notice and read signs and labels in the supermarket. Back home, putting away groceries is another great time for reading labels.

Math Card Games
Addition War—Players turn up two cards for each skirmish. The highest sum wins.
Advanced Addition War—Turn up three (or four) cards for each skirmish and add them together.
Subtraction War—Players turn up two cards and subtract the smaller number from the larger. This time, the greatest difference wins the skirmish.
Multiplication War—Turn up two cards and multiply.

Now You See It...
This is a kid’s version of the infamous wedding or baby shower game.  Just arrange a number of objects on a tray cover with a napkin and gather the kids around for this memory game.  Give the kids a certain amount of time to look over the objects and try to remember as many as possible.  Re-cover the tray and have the kids write down as many as they can remember.  A variation after this is to privately remove one of the objects and ask the kids to figure out what is missing.

Under the Cups
Here’s another concentration/memory game that is a version of the favorite board game Concentration.  Just gather pairs of “same objects” that will fit under paper cups.  I used earrings, buttons, coins, small toys, etc.  Lie out the grid in advance and place cups over them.  Now have the kids use their memory skills to match pairs.

Brain Teasers
Here’s a really fun website for brain teasers that give you the answer on demand and instantly:
www.azkidsnet.com/brainteasers

Here are a few that I showed:
What is full of holes but still holds water?
A sponge

Johnny’s mother had 4 children.  The first one was named April.  The second one was named May.  The third June.  What was the name of her fourth child?
Johnny!

Before Mount Everest was discovered, what was the tallest mountain in the world?
Mt. Everest

What happened in the year 1961 that will not happen again until the year 6009?
The years are the same when held upside down.

Do a brainteaser every day or so with your older kids to get the brain wheels turning again.  This is a fun site for that!

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