Schools are starting to shut down for the summer, and it’s common for kids to lose their intellectual chops over the long summer break. Here are some of my favorite educational apps, toys, and games to keep your kids sharp and avoid the “Summer Slide” while school is out.
Maintain a schedule
When school ends and summer break begins, things can fall by the wayside. Use an app like Chorecheck to help put a schedule in place. Chorecheck is a free app that you can use to schedule chores and even reading goals. You can choose whether kids earn money from these tasks or not. I believe that reimbursement for “extra” work done can be a very good motivator.
Each day, schedule some time for your child to use a free educational site, like Khan Academy. Kids of all ages can learn about everything from subjects like math, history test prep, coding and storytelling in a fun and engaging way. Kids learn at their own pace, and you can keep track of their progress.
Make the Most of Screen Time
Let’s face it, your kids will want to be on their screens, but screen time doesn’t have to be all about YouTube videos and Mario Cart. The Fire HD 7 Kids Edition ($99) from Amazon has educational content and games. You’ll get a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, a subscription service that gives kids ages 3-12 access to over 15,000 age-appropriate books, videos, educational apps, and games. And you can use the Parent Dashboard and Discussion Cards to monitor activity and encourage conversations with your kids. I also love the protective case and a two-year “worry-free” guarantee. Free replacement if it gets broken!
Educational Games & Toys
Play-Doh Numbers, Letters n’ Fun Set ($12) ages 3+
A fun activity for the little ones, this set teaches a variety of math skills, like counting, number and letter identification and comparing and contrasting. The set includes a plastic knife, 26 letter molds, nine number molds and eight one-ounce cans of Play-Doh.
Peaceable Kingdom Memory Palace ($16) Ages 5+, 1-4 players
In this collaborative game, kids exercise their creative chops and challenge their memory with this storytelling game. Using the different rooms in the castle, players make up crazy tales involving 27 animal tokens, while dodging ‘memory monsters’. Then they must remember all the stories!
ThinkFun Word Around ($13) Ages 8+, two or more players
This reading game is tougher than it looks. Once a player determines the word in the black ring on the first card, they shout it out and win that card. They flip it over to reveal a color, which indicates the color that the players focus on when the next card is flipped. The first person to get 10 cards wins!
Foxmind Toys Disruptus ($21) Ages 10+, three or more players or teams
Disruptus gets those innovative juices flowing and really keeps kids on their toes. Players are given two image cards and asked to create, transform, disrupt or improve the items on the cards. This game also lends itself to new rules and ways to play. Who knows, maybe they’ll design the next UBER?
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