The potential for academic skills to regress over the long summer break is a concern for some students. Many parents ask what they can do with their child to keep them engaged in learning over the summer. Learning activities during the summer can help maintain skills and challenge students in different ways.
With teens, we may find more resistance, or at least some moaning and eye-rolling. However, there are engaging ways to enhance summer learning and also to provide ways for you to connect with your teen and other family members.
Listen to high interest audio books: Long trips in the car are a perfect time for families to listen to audio books. Having everyone involved stimulates discussion that fosters analysis and critical thinking skills.
- Pause the audio every 10 minutes or so to discuss events and clarify misunderstandings. Comprehension can be fostered by asking your child what mental pictures they are making as they listen to the audio
- Also important are “Why do you think ….” questions. Such questions stimulate inferencing and analysis.
- If the book was made into a movie, follow up by watching the movie and making comparisions.
Some high interest audio books for teens:
- Divergent Series
- Hunger Games Series
- I am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) by Pitticus Lore
- The Fifth Wave Series
- Books by Tim Tigner who writes adventure/thrillers with teen protagonists
Play board or card games that stimulate the brain
Spot-It – a fun card game the whole family can play. This game works on visual scanning, developing a strategy or organized way to approach a task, and processing speed.
Blink – another card game for two players. Develops the ability to spot different types of groupings or ways to categorize similarities and differences. Students can practice individually to increase speed of processing.
Q-bitz & Doodle Dice – Develops visual perception, organization and strategy. As students become better at the game, they can advance to higher levels that develop visual and working memory.
Mastermind – A codebreaker game that challenges students to reason logically to break a hidden code. Develops reasoning, logic, memory and agility.
Brainbuilders – A game where players must follow a blueprint in order to build a structure using wooden blocks or tiles.
Logic Links – Players must follow a list of rules and directions to reproduce a pattern. Builds ability to follow directions and connect directions to a visual output. Students can play individually to get better at the game and improve their skills.
Concentration Games are also a great way to develop visual and working memory.
Yes, there are online games!
Quia.com has different games that develop certain types of processing and executive functions. Try the sequencing games.
Learninggamesforkids.com has logic and matching games.
The best app I’ve found is Fit Brains Trainer. I think 15 minutes a day of this could really impact attention, executive functioning, processing speed and memory.
Do you have any recommendations for high interest books or games? Please share!