UPDATED: Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 1:46pm
(StatePoint) Each summer, parents look for ways to combat “summer brain drain,” which occurs when children lose some of the knowledge they gained during the school year because they’re not regularly exercising their brains. According to research from the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University, students typically lose one to two months of reading and math skills during summer break.
“Children’s brains develop at a remarkable pace, and don’t take a break from learning just because school is out,” says neuroscientist Dr. Lise Eliot, an early childhood development expert and author. “Parents should offer children fun experiences that encourage learning and exploration, allowing them to absorb new skills and expand their knowledge.”
To help parents avoid summer setbacks, VTech , a world leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children, is offering fun suggestions for summer learning:
• Look for teachable moments: Our daily lives are filled with opportunities to teach children. Following a recipe? Let your child read and measure the ingredients. Balancing your checkbook? Put your child’s math skills to use. Going on a road trip? Let your child look for specific signs along the way and follow along on a map.
• Use learning toys: Learning toys are a great way to help children stay mentally sharp out of the classroom, while also having fun. On the go? Instead of waiting for kids to ask “Are we there yet?”, look for an educational, developmental toy like InnoTab  2S Wi-Fi Learning App Tablet by VTech, which combines a camera, interactive e-books, creative activities, tilt sensor learning games, and a rich collection of applications.
While in the car or during downtime, children can use their tablet to play games, create art, take notes, or use the onboard calendar. Parents can track their child's progress on learning milestones and lessons and download high-quality, educational content wirelessly at the online Learning Lodge.
• Read: The benefits of reading to children are enormous, including helping language and speech development, expanding vocabulary and building a lifelong love of reading. Children who read more also perform better academically, so visit the library often and let children choose books that interest them, or consider downloading an e-book on InnoTab 2S.
• Plan educational outings: You don’t have to plan an extravagant vacation to teach children about science and culture. Visit museums, historical sites, the zoo or aquarium. Take advantage of free summer concerts to expose children to new styles of music and dance.
• Encourage savings: Saving money is a great way to put math skills to use. Let your children count coins in their piggy banks. Show them how much they’ll need for something they’re saving for, and teach them to create a budget to reach their goals. Clip coupons together, putting the money saved into their piggy banks. Play “store” with your child to practice math.
More great parenting tips can be found at www.VTechKids.com/parenting .
This summer, give kids the tools they’ll need to retain their knowledge for the next school year.