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Summer sensation: Keeping kids mentally sharp in summer helps with smooth back to school transition

The middle of July typically is seen by parents and children alike as the turning point toward school, the dreaded halfway mark between beaches, swimming and lounging to back to school shopping and inevitably returning to the classroom in only a few short weeks.
Some parents view summer as a time for "kids to be kids" and proverbially pump the breaks when it comes to filling their kids full of education, books and intellectual stimulation as part of their "vacation." For other parents, summer is an extension of school, and while sports and outdoor activities play a role in the months of May through August, moms and dads aren't shy about infusing a little brain power as part of that itinerary.
The latter mentality seems to be the most enviable, particularly when you consider the transition from summer to school and how difficult it can be if summer consisted of sleeping in and laying around all day. That's why parents tend make summer equal parts fun and enjoyment but aren't hesitant about slipping in a few trips or activities that lend themselves to keeping kids sporadically stimulated throughout their break from school.
As far as ideas and what works well, no one is suggesting parents to hold formal class at home or having their kids do full blown book reports after they've toweled off at the pool but rather simple, effective means to allow kids to enjoy the summer but underscoring a few outings with an educational tone to them.
One popular site that does both is the neighborhood zoo, even if you have to travel a bit to get to yours. These destinations are loaded with things to do that challenge kids to think and promotes learning, while not forgetting about the eye catching factor of seeing a lion roar or bear growl. And what kid wouldn't love to stand in front of an amazing aquarium and watch as the colorful array of fish whisk by at a moment's notice?

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Much like the zoo, museums also pack a summertime punch of education, as does a camping trip that allows kids to explore, learn and get them away from the television, smart phones, tablets and gaming systems, perhaps an aspect that is just as paramount as learning.
And if your kids are intent on lounging around, why not turn those lazy days into something positive? How about turning those aforementioned tablets into learning tools and downloading an app that allows you to gaze at the nighttime sky and pick out a few constellations. As much as you might think kids like staring into space, they also can't help but get behind understanding just exactly what they're looking at from one night to the next.
No matter what avenue you choose, summer can be the time away from school kids need but also include enough of an education facet to fill the gaps between May and September.

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