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Avoid brain drain this summer

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Keeping the brain busy all summer long

It's a week out of school and your kids' backpacks are already lost in the abyss of video games, iPads, piles of dirty clothes and leftover pizza boxes. The last thing your kids want to think about during summer break is school. So how do you avoid brain drain and keep your kids intellectually stimulated during the summer months? Read on for tips to help you sneak some educational fun into your kids' lazy summer schedule.

Make learning a game

For younger kids, nearly any game can be transformed into a learning game. It might be a little tougher to sneak in an educational game for tweens and teens, but get creative! From classic road trip games like "I Spy" to gathering the family together for game night, encourage your kids to learn in fun ways all summer long. Don't forget classic board games like Memory and fun new ones that stimulate and enagege kids without any screen time.

Check out these 10 educational activities for kids on a budget >>

Hit up the library

Keep your kids' minds ticking with a trip to your local library. If your plan to simply check out books is met with moans, consider this: Many local libraries offer great family- and kid-friendly story times, activities, seminars and incentive-based summer reading programs designed to help kids continue learning throughout the summer. The best part? They are free!

Sign 'em up

Check out your city's local resources for community classes. The parks and recreation departments of many cities offer a schedule of classes like art (I've actually got my kids enrolled in one called "messy art" — how fun is that?), sports and other great learning and leisure classes that will keep your kids' brains stimulated this summer.

Check out these last-minute summer fun classes >>

Encourage interaction and outside play

Limit screen time

Bubble Guppies, iCarly, Angry Birds… whatever your kids' addiction, put a daily cap on it. Discuss with your partner a fair amount of time to let your child choose his screen-related poison (you-approved, of course!), and then let your child know about the summer screen-time rule.

It's hot outside, we know. But when we were kids we all played outside no matter how hot it was and we're none the worse for it, right? Instead of letting your child waste a day in front of the tube, encourage him to get together with his friends to work on a project or simply form a neighborhood game of soccer followed by a splash in the pool.

Don't think sports counts as keeping kids' brains stimulated? Think again! Team sports encourages working together, problem solving, team building and more. What TV show do you know of that does all that?

Read on for 8 backyard games to keep kids entertained >>

More on summer-time fun

7 Ways to keep your kids engaged over the summer
4 Summer crafts and activities kids will love

Is it too late to enroll in summer camps?

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