The long-awaited summer break is in full swing! Teachers and students everywhere countdown to summer. Now that we’re halfway through vacation and the novelty has worn off, many parents are starting the countdown to the beginning of the next school year.

Students need a mental break, but I always hear parents of school-age kids complain that their children are restless and bored after the first week of summer. So, how can parents and their children survive the rest of summer break? These tips will help ensure that students “exercise their brains”.

Set a daily routine for your children. Children benefit from structure and thrive in routines. It will also help them readjust to the start of school in August.

Here is an example of a summer schedule:

7:30-8:00 Breakfast

8:00-9:00 Outside play

9:00-9:30 Math skills

9:30-10:00 Computer time

10:00-10:30 Snack time

10:30-11:30 Activity/Games/Puzzles

11:30-12:30 Freetime

12:30-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:00 Quiet time/Reading

2:00-3:00 Water fun outside

3:00-4:00 Writing/Journaling

4:00-5:00 Clean up/Chores/Dinner Prep


Another example with theme days:
“Make Something Monday” - Try a new craft, recipe, or project
“Take a Trip Tuesday” - Go for a hike, or to the park or movies
“Wet and Wild Wednesday” - Spend time at the water park, splash pad, pool, sprinklers, water toys
“Thinking Thursday” - Visit the library, museum, science center
“Fresh and Fun Friday” - Do something you have never done before

Blockbuster books. Every summer there are new movies and a lot of them are based on children’s or young adults’ books. Read a book with your child and then take them to see the movie or rent an older release and have a movie date. This is a great opportunity for you and your child to compare/contrast the book with the movie. It’s usually a good lesson that, in most cases, the book is better!

Elementary Books/Movies

The Tale of Despereaux

Bridge to Terabithia


Mr. Popper’s Penguins


Junior High/High School Books/Movies

Mocking Jay

The Fault in Our Stars

The Hundred-Foot Journey

The Giver



Give them opportunities to earn vacation money or rewards. Your child should be doing activities to “exercise their brain” all summer long. They should be reading, writing, and working on math skills every day. These skills should be set into their summer schedule. But, you can also encourage them to do more. If they spend extra time reading, writing or use computer time to go on a math website, they can earn a reward: money for vacation, or more computer time. Some kids just need extra incentive!

Blog about summer break. Some kids are just not fond of writing. They see it as work. Help them set up a blog to share their summer vacation with friends and family. They can work on computer skills, photography, writing, and revising skills.

Play an educational game. There are a lot of games that are fun and build skills at the same time. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and “exercise your brain.”

Some great word games that will build their spelling and vocabulary skills are Scrabble, Bananagrams, Boggle, Apples to Apples, Scattergories and Balderdash. Some fun math games that can build their math and thinking skills are Monopoly, Phase 10, Dominos, Sequence and Equate. Some other games that can help build language and creative thinking are Pictionary, Cranium and Quelf.

Be creative and get your kids involved. Let your child/children help plan their summer. Encourage them to do some research on some fun things to do. They could look on Pinterest for projects or search for community activities posted in local coffee shops or libraries.

Most of all, enjoy your summer and keep “exercising your brain”!