The Brain Drain Effect


The “brain drain effect.” It is exactly what it sounds like, and it is not a good thing. Primrose schools uses this term to describe what can happen to children during the summer months if they do not engage in any sort of activity that stimulates the mind. Studies show that without stimulation, children can lose up to 60 percent of what they learned during the school year. Primrose Schools, a family of 200 accredited private preschools, suggests the key to overcoming summertime boredom and the “brain drain” effect is to encourage imaginative play and have a plan in place to keep children engaged during the summer months.

Summer is a great time to encourage children to let their imaginations soar.  School schedules can sometimes be demanding and time for less structured, imaginative activities is often scarce. The freedom of summer gives children large blocks of uninterrupted time to create projects of their own choosing that can last several days or even longer.

“It’s important to keep children’s minds active during the summer, but it doesn’t take an expensive activity or big vacation to capture their attention,” said Dr. Mary Zurn, Vice President of Education for Primrose; a highly accredited family of Preschools across the nation.
These are some simple, inexpensive and easily modifiable activities to have in mind for those inevitable boring moments during the summer:

  1. Fort Building: Children love to build all kinds of structures--from small towns to large towers. Constructing forts or tents is an activity that can keep children focused and problem solving for hours. All the items you need, can be found around the house–some chairs, cushions, blankets… and of course adult supervision. 
  1. Staycation: Vacation at home! Pretend to campout in the backyard. It can be a vacation at home! Just plan a meal, pack a backpack full of activities, and set up a campsite using blankets or chairs to sit on.  You might even decide to spend the night! 
  1. Cookbook Fun: Have you ever shared your favorite recipe with your children?  Take it out and ask your children to choose a recipe to try. Measuring can be a fun and easy way to keep math skills fresh. 
  1. Summer Scrapbook: This is a great way to engage everyone in the family all throughout the summer. Keep a spiral notebook (or any type of notebook with blank paper) readily available so everyone in the family can take turn drawing, writing or pasting pictures or memorabilia on the blank pages. This is a fun way to let each person share his or her special memories from the summer. It is also a good way for children to practice their story telling skills.
  1. Listening Game: Lie down in the backyard, in the den or at the park and listen.  What do you hear? Do you hear what I hear? Can you imitate the sound? This is similar to watching the clouds and naming the shapes, and it encourages everyone to slow down and focus on listening. 
  1. Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of household items that can be found relatively easy (depending on the age of the child), and make enough copies for everyone, or for every team. This can be done solo or in groups. To make it more interesting get some prizes and turn it into a competition!
Each of these activities can be changed to fit the needs of your child(ren). This can be based on age, gender, preference or learning capability. All of the activities listed are inexpensive and do not require much, if anything to make them work.

Keep this list handy, the last thing any parent wants to hear is, “MOM, I’m Bored!!!”and not be prepared with some type of activity. If all else fails, just keep your child’s mind active and imaginative, after all “imagination is free.”

Parents who want the best choose the best--Primrose Schools. 

Submitted by Emily Patterson on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, they have helped individuals achieve higher levels of success by providing them with an AdvancED® accredited, early child care services and education Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Emily has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.

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