Games Can Beat the Summer Brain Drain!

Games Can Beat the Summer Brain Drain!

Written by Patty Pearcy, President & CEO of SimplyFun 


First, the Summer Brain Drain is absolutely real! Kids whose brains are not engaged during the summer break can lose up to a month of learning causing them to start school each year behind, and struggling to catch up. Not so shockingly, the most notable loss is in math rather than reading. Maybe because kids are more exposed to reading during the summer (even if it’s bedtime stories or comic books) than math. Not convinced the Brain Drain is real?  Well then try putting that ‘tip’ app down and calculate the tip due on your next restaurant meal in your head. It doesn’t take long to lose math skills, and guess what…you likely lost yours the day your phone came with a calculator app installed.

But…this is not about you. This is about your kiddos with the soon to be drained brains. What if there was an easy solution? One that could bring joy and fun to your family all summer long while behind the scenes taking on the Brain Drain with the fierceness of a ninja warrior? Here is your simple solution….30 minutes a day of board game play.


Fun & Educational Board Games That Help Beat Summer Brain Drain!

Kids playing math game, Math Room by SimplyFun. How to Avoid Summer Brain Drain or Summer Learning Loss.

From Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to English Language Arts (ELA) or Social Emotion Learning (SEL), the Brain Drain impacts them all. There are so many skills to cover, it may feel like an academic mountain to climb during your fun summer days. Don’t be overwhelmed, just pick any area with a game that looks interesting to your crew. The important point is to keep your kids brains active and functioning like well oiled machines…even when the dreaded ‘I’m BORED’ makes an appearance get those games out and start playing.

Avoid Summer Brain Drain with These Fun & Educational Games!

Here are some key categories with a couple of suggested games each…one a bit younger and one a bit older that are a great fit for practicing each skill category.

 1. Quick Math Math Room & Math’d Potatoes – Math Room is quick thinking for plus and minus number 1 thru 10; Math’d Potatoes adds in all the operators and gets even quicker but does allow slower players to ‘catch-up’!  (You get it right?  Catch-up and catsup)

2. Memory Bee Alert & Amalgam – Bee Alert is aptly named as your child is likely going to beat you every time if you aren’t Bee-ing Alert. Amalgam thankfully provides cards that allow you to peek in your caldron pile and see what kind of mess you are really stirring up while trying to win.

3. Visual Acuity – Watch My Wings & Corner Center Match – Watch My Wings has you chasing the colors and shapes on the butterfly’s wings to make matches; while Corner Center Match requires you to spot a shape match with just a corner of it showing on the card before another player finds the match in their card pile. Elbows will fly, so make sure to give yourself and the other players some room to maneuver.

4. Quick Thinking – Linkity & 15 to Zero – Whether its words or numbers, these two games will give you an opportunity to brush up your ‘adult’ skills in both categories.

PS: kids will have fun and benefit too as they watch you lose. (See note above regarding phone calculators.)

5. Vocabulary – Letter Slide & Get 4 & Score – How many four-letter words can you make that you can say in front of your kids? Test it out with Letter Slide. Or how many words do you know that are the name of a flower that begin with the letters U, V, X, or Z? Get all 4 to score in Get 4 & Score and expand your vocabulary in the process.

6. Problem Solving – Sunshine Rescue & Triage – Not all problems have an online video to provide a quick fix. Give your kiddos a little practice in personal decision making and problem solving by playing these rescue focused games. The challenges in these games  don’t come with an online solution that fits all. Your kiddo’s will need to figure it out on their own!

7. Planning – Team Digger & Dish’em Out – Whether digging stuff up or dishing it out, planning is a key executive functioning skill that helps you feel in control of your destiny whether in the backyard or at the local diner. And even if you can’t change those outcomes, at least you can know what might happen if it all goes sideways!

8. Brain Teasers – Pelican Cove & Sticks and Stunts – These games are brain teasers on a large scale. Just like trying to get squabbling family members seated around a table, can you seat all the pelicans according to their preferences in their nesting area? Alternatively, can you tackle the stick stunts and trivia challenges in Sticks and Stunts where you might be able to prove that two heads are better than one if you face off as teams rather than as individual players.

9. Creativity – Pickles Pig Tales & The Reel Script – Try telling a story from start to finish that gets more complex each time you tell it. That’s because players get to add a piece onto the story in Pickles Pig Tales each time your turn comes around. Or channel your inner movie director by trying to find a movie script worth producing in The Reel Script. If it’s good enough it might be your kids ‘real-life’ chance in Hollywood!

10. Exploration – SavannaScapes & Planet Voyager – Most importantly summertime is a time for day dreaming, which provides a great opportunity for exploration of worlds that are new to you whether on the ground or up in the sky. Remember your kiddo may just come up with the solution to solve the world’s [you fill in the blank]. A little daydreaming time never hurt anyone!


Looking for more game recommendations for summer learning?

Best Math Card Games for Kids!

The Best Portable and Travel-Friendly Family Games

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