Save Kids’ Brains! Learning Authority VTech Helps Parents Combat Summer Brain Drain with Smart Tips for Summer Learning Fun
Chicago – With the school year soon coming to a close, parents are looking for ways to combat the well-documented phenomenon known as Summer Brain Drain , and VTech, a world leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children, has smart tips to help promote summer learning fun. Summer Brain Drain occurs when students are away from the structured learning environment of a classroom and lose the months of knowledge they gained during the school year because they are 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 the summer break. But there are many things parents can do to help keep children's minds active during the summer months and avoid these setbacks.
"Children's brains develop at a remarkable pace and don't take a break just because school is out," said Dr. Lise Eliot , parenting author and expert in child and brain development. "To help their children continue to thrive over the summer months, parents should offer fun experiences that encourage learning and exploration, and, allow them to expand their knowledge."
Here are some smart tips to help combat Summer Brain Drain and promote summer learning fun:
- Utilize learning toys – Learning toys are a great way to help children stay mentally sharp during vacations, while also allowing them to explore and have fun. Look for toys like VTech's InnoTab® 2S Wi-Fi Learning App Tablet, one of the first children's learning based tablets with Wi-Fi. This tablet features a secure wireless connection to VTech's comprehensive app store, the Learning Lodge™, where children can easily browse a variety of the highest-quality educational content to help prevent Summer Brain Drain , create a wish list and send the list right to their parents' e-mail. If parents choose to approve the wish list, the purchases are sent wirelessly, directly to the InnoTab 2S. The entire InnoTab range of products opens up a world of age-appropriate educational content across the widest variety of curriculums, from downloads to software cartridges, combining innovative technology with a developmental learning tool that grows with a child and makes learning fun.
- Read, read, read! – The benefits of reading to children are enormous, including helping language and speech development, expanding their vocabulary and building a lifetime love of reading. Children who read more perform better in school, so parents should absolutely continue reading to their children during the summer months. Visit the local library often and let children choose books that interest them or consider using e-books on InnoTab 2S as a fun alternative that brings reading to life through engaging stories and kids' favorite characters. The highlighted words help children intuitively follow along. By the end of the year, the Learning Lodge will have over 90 e-books and deluxe e-books, split into age-appropriate levels. Starting at US$2.99, the e-books include popular titles such as "The Princess and The Pea" (ages 5-8), "Jack and the Beanstalk" (ages 4-7) and "The Ugly Duckling" (ages 3-6). Available for US$14.99, the range of deluxe e-books, with added features such as reading games, animated characters and interactive scenes, includes children's favorite characters such as "Disney Fairies Tinkerbell" (ages 5-8), "Cars 2" (4-7) and "Winnie the Pooh" (ages 3-6).
- Look for teachable moments – Our daily lives are filled with opportunities to teach our children. Following a new recipe for dinner? Let your child help read and measure the ingredients. Balancing your checkbook? Let your child put their 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. Then extend the fun at home by downloading new apps that teach similar skills, such as "Globe", " Treasure Hunt " and "Key to the Map," onto the InnoTab 2S via the Learning Lodge.
- Plan educational outings – You don't have to plan an extravagant vacation to teach a child about culture and customs. Museums and local historical societies can teach children about history, dinosaurs and art. A local zoo or aquarium can teach children about new animals, and educational apps can reinforce what they've learned, such as those featuring Dora the Explorer, who is often on an adventure learning about and rescuing animals with her cousin Diego. You can often find free summer concerts that can expose your child to new styles of music and dance as well. Continue the musical education on InnoTab 2S with the MP3 player and KidiJamz music albums full of fun, preschool songs, found on the Learning Lodge.
- Consider a summer program – There are camps and summer programs for nearly every interest. If your child enjoys acting, look for a Shakespeare Theater camp. If your child likes homemade experiments, look for a science camp. For a child who needs more help in school, look for a summer learning program, which has been proven to raise school performances. Local libraries also often have free summer programs that appeal to a variety of interests. Once home, download relevant content from the Learning Lodge, including science titles such as "World of Science," "Bugsby's Space Adventure" and "Sesame Street's Fairy Tale Science Fair."
- Encourage savings – Saving money is a great way to put children's math skills to use. Let children count the coins in their piggy bank. Show them how much they will need for something they are saving for and if they're old enough, teach them how to create a budget to reach their goal. Let them clip coupons with you and put the money saved into their piggy bank. Playing "store" with your child and using coins or pretend money is another great way to utilize math skills. There are 32 dedicated math learning games on VTech's Learning Lodge, including "Cab Tab" and "Checkout Stand" which specifically teach kids about counting money. There are also math games for those as young as age 3, including the ever-popular "Hide N Beak" and "Ant Harvest." Kids can even improve their math skills while playing with games with their favorite characters through VTech's exclusive range of software cartridges such as "Team Umizoomi", "Disney/Pixar Brave" and "Disney Minnie."
The Learning Lodge currently features more than 350 educational games, e-books, music and videos developed specifically for each child's unique stage of development, as well as with their age and interests, with content expanding to offer a robust library of more than 600 titles by the end of the year. The broad library of subjects includes reading, math, social studies, science, creativity, problem solving and so much more! Starting with activities suitable for toddlers and expanding to grade schoolers, the Learning Lodge gives every child an opportunity to expand their learning potential while keeping them entertained.
The Learning Lodge also includes videos from children's favorite characters, such as Mike the Knight™, Team Umizoomi™, Dora the Explorer™, Thomas & Friends™, Angelina Ballerina™, Sesame Street® and more. Children can explore this content, pick their favorites, create a wish list and even send the list right to their parents' e-mail. In addition, parents can track their child's progress through the online progress log, offer encouragement and share in their pride when kids reach new learning milestones. InnoTab 2S lets parents rest assured that their children are embarking on a fun, educational learning experience.
For more information about the complete VTech product range and our summer brain drain tips, please visit www.vtechkids.com.
VTech is a world leader in age-appropriate and developmental stage-based electronic learning products for children. Since 1980, VTech has been developing high-quality, innovative educational products that enrich children's development, from birth to preteen, through fun and smart play.
VTech Electronics North America, LLC is based in Arlington Heights, Ill. VTech Electronics Ltd. is headquartered in Hong Kong with distribution throughout North America, Europe and Asia.
About Dr. Lise Eliot
Dr. Lise Eliot is a neuroscientist and author of What's Going On In There: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. The mother of two sons and a daughter, she also recently published the book Pink Brain, Blue Brain, which examines sex differences and similarities in children's mental and emotional development – and what parents can do to help minimize gender gaps in school achievement. Dr. Eliot lectures widely about brain and gender development to parents, teachers and other early childhood professionals.