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Summertime Shutdown?

By: Cathy Linney
Posted on: June 8, 2017

It's the age-old dilemma. What do you do with your kids this summer? Do you give them a "pass", allowing no mental activity requirements in the midst of playtime?

Who says you can't have both? Physical activity is important for the brain; Vitamin D (sunshine) is essential to a healthy body and cognitive function.

Give your child an oral list of things to do in the day; require that those things be done in a certain sequence, for a fixed period of time. At the end of the day, ask for the list to be repeated and the times the things took place. Example:

8 am: Have your child make bed; pick up room while reciting alphabet (or multiplication tables, etc) to 110-120 bpm ( need to purchase a cheap metronome). Give a set time for completion of task. (time awareness, rhythm, multi-tasking...all important cognitive exercises)

9 am: Have your child go outside and ride bike, (go for a walk, jump rope, etc) for 15 minutes and be sure to drink 8 oz. of water before and after the ride. (time management, measurement, physical exercise)

Lunch time: Time for your child to make a sandwich (with ingredients you name); drink 8 oz milk. (measurement, memory)

2 pm: Have read for a set time (at least 15 minutes); write down key points in what was read (memory, writing, reading, time management)

This is a simplification, but hopefully you are getting the idea. When the day is over, ask questions; and be very precise. How long did you jump rope? What time did I tell you to go outside? How much water did I have you drink before and after exercise? What key points did you write down about your book?

It doesn't have to be an all day affair, and it can be about any activity. Anything can become educational, and who knows? Maybe planning how to make it fun and educational will be good for you too!

Posted in: Summer Brain Activities
Tags: Exercise and the brain, summer cognitive planning