I am not one of those mothers who refuses to have a television in my house or ban video games for fear it will rot my kids brains. I consider myself an everything in moderation type of mom. Of course, throughout the school year, it’s easier for me to limit my kids’ intake of electronic media since they’re aware it needs to be balanced by their homework and studying commitments.
But on the weekend, all bets are off. I’ll be honest, sometimes it takes every last bit of willpower for me not to ask them to scoot over so I can join them on the couch. Still, even though their academic commitments are on hold, it doesn’t mean as parents we have to let them fall prey to the weekend brain drain syndrome. By involving them in activities disguised as fun but rooted in education, we can help temper their love of all things vacuous with activities sure to keep their brain cells in top form. Check out these five tips sure to help you keep education alive and well all weekend long.
#1 Play your way to a better brain: Marbles: The Brain Store offers more than 250 products that strengthen and entertain the brain, including games, puzzles, brain teaser sets, books, CDs and more. All are hand-picked by a team of experts in brain health and many items are under $25.
One of our FAVES: Rory’s Story Cube. Rory’s Story Cubes contains nine cubes with 54 images. Just roll the cubes and come up with a story that links together all nine face-up images. So, say you get images of a bumblebee, a turtle and a crescent moon. Your story might go like this: Once upon a time, there was a bumblebee named Turtle, which was a very unfortunate name for a bumblebee. However, his parents wished upon a crescent moon for a turtle and got a bumblebee instead¦. Hey, don’t laugh. There are no wrong answers here. Just hours of creative play that can serve as an ice-breaker, literacy development, mental workout and more.
Brain Health Expert Says: “This game requires you to think on your feet to construct a creative, interesting story based on the images seen on the cubes. Broca’s area, responsible for speech production, and the temporal lobe, important for visual shape recognition, are activated when you play this game.”
#2 Enroll your kids in a foreign language class of their choice! Offer your kids an opportunity to learn something really cool and not typically offered during the regular school year in a fun way. For example, introduce the idea of a French language class and offer to take your kid to a hip French restaurant where they can order en francais for the whole family. Or, give them capital to invest in a lemonade stand and teach them the basics of managing a business “ how to provide correct change and how to wisely spend the profit!
#3 Discuss topics that interest your kids and find books that match. Reading just one book over the course of a weekend can prevent brain drain ( and alleviate your GUILT about letting them play so many video games!).
#4 Get Busy EXPERIMENTING! here are a few Science Projects to help you get started!
Try this Weather Experiment: Fill the cup with water. Put shaving cream on top for a cloud. Explain that when clouds get really heavy with water, it rains! Then put blue food coloring on top of the cloud, and watch it rain.
Try this Electric Eels Experiment from Bitz & Giggles Marinate gummy worms in a mixture of water and baking soda and then bring them to life in a glass of vinegar. An awesome experiment for kids!
Try How to Make Frozen Bubbles Experiment From Housing a Forest . This is a great Winter science experiment and features lots of tips and tricks for how to create frozen bubbles.
Try this Experiment for How to Make Shaving Cream Rain from Mom Wife Busy Life. The shaving cream serves as the cloud while the food coloring is the rain! You can just use blue for this experiment if you’d like, but I think it’s more fun to watch the different colors come together!
#5 Have simple, fun and stimulating activities READY TO GO! Subscribing to a service like Green Kid Crafts is an easy way for families to ensure that their kids are exposed to a diverse set of fun and educational activities throughout the year. Each month, kids receive a Discovery Box filled with three or four craft and science kits, including all supplies and instructions, as well as additional extension activities and learning resources. The projects are designed by experts to promote creativity, build confidence and develop key skills while nature-related themes and sustainable materials encourage a child’s love and respect for nature.
Their Discovery Boxes for kids pack a lot of fun into convenient, eco-friendly packages, perfect for giving or enjoying on a rainy day. Developed with experts to support key developmental skills for kids ages 3-8, each Discovery Box celebrates creativity and boosts confidence while giving kids a fun and educational experience. Each Discovery Box contains 3-4 Creativity Kits, fun extras, extension activities and a 20+ page themed Green Kid! Activity Guide. One of our favorites: Around The World: India, Japan, and Africa $29.95
The cultural crafts in this Around the World Discovery Box will take your traveler to three exciting countries: Japan, India, and Africa. At each stop they’ll find a wealth of crafting inspiration as we learn about a unique culture and traditions while developing our appreciation for the differences that make the world, and its people, beautiful. Projects include making Diwali Candles from India, designing an African Mask, and making Japanese Lanterns. This box also comes with a Passport Sticker Book and a free issue of Green Kid Guide our new kids activity guide that includes 20 pages of additional activities, games, puzzles, coloring sheets, and much more. Fun and enriching for kids ages 3-8, Designed by experts to support development and align with their Happy & Healthy Child Criteria
What are some ways that you help your kids avoid the WEEKEND BRAIN DRAIN?