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7 ways to stop summer brain drain

Abbi Perets lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and five children.






Smart ideas for summer

No more pencils, no more books? Sure, if you want your kids to spend the first three months of the school year re-learning skills they forgot over summer vacation. Here's a better way to keep your kids on track while still having fun.

5Start a book club

Together with a few friends, choose an age-appropriate book for your kids to read and discuss. Set the date of the meeting on your calendar, figure out how many pages to read each day to complete the book on time, and plan some related games, activities and food for the big meeting. If you keep this up over the course of the school year, you'll get a kick out of seeing the kids take over the planning and running of the meetings as time goes by.

>> Check out our list of the top 15 books for kids of all ages

6Plan a field trip

Heading to the zoo? Make it a big deal. Plan the field trip a few days in advance. Figure out when you'll arrive, when you'll eat and when you'll leave. Go online and plan out the route you'll follow once you get there. Pick a few questions to research and answer while you're there. You can still have a lot of fun -- but your kids will also learn a little more than they might have otherwise.

7Spend time together

The less-hectic days of summer provide the perfect opportunity to spend some one-on-one time with your kids. Let them take the lead and guide the activities at least once a week. As for you -- you just go along for the ride.

More fun summer activities

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5 Earth-friendly outings for the whole family

8 Backyard games to keep kids entertained

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