It’s been a long unsettling Spring and many of us are worried about what fall will look like for our kids. The concern about the “summer brain drain” feels heightened this year after months of possible “COVID slide”. But despite the fact that kids did lose certain ground by being out of the classroom, they learned some incredibly important lessons. All kids are learning the real-world lesson of resilience. Take comfort knowing that your kids will return to the classroom, even if it looks different than we’d like, and educators will be there to continue to teach and encourage learning. In the meantime, use the summer to keep kids engaged and curious. Here are our top five for the summer:

1. Play games to learn

Have little kids learning letters? Grab dry erase markers and a damp paper towel and head to a big window.  Write the letters on the window and have your kiddo erase the letter you call out. Have a middle schooler missing friends and family? Schedule a weekly math competition or trivia night.

2. Encourage independence and curiosity

Have a child fascinated by bridges or interested in how the body works? Take their lead by exploring a topic of interest. Read books together, watch some videos, and wrap with a project.

3. Go on trips from your living room

Feeling out of touch is hard for everyone. Connect with cultures outside your home. Read Matt Lamothe’s beautiful book This is How We Do It , and listen to songs in another language with younger kids. For older students, have them research and plan an itinerary to another country. Try some food from that location, or if you don’t have access to the cuisine, create a menu around that country’s famous dishes.

4. Connect with the world around you

Research tells us that one of the best ways to feel better is by helping others.  Kids can contribute to community efforts right now while still doing some purposeful learning. Young kids might work on motor skills by drawing pictures for first responders; older students could draft letters to local media about their experience.

5. Recruit help

Like teachers, parents have had to shoulder a lot during this pandemic. Much has been asked in these last few months and many families need a break from running a whole school at home. Lean on your resources. Groups like ours at Thinking Caps are here to help. Whether your child needs to catch up, get ready for next year, or wants to explore an area of interest, we’ve designed programs to keep kids curious during the summer months, and to give you peace of mind.


Alexandra spends her time thinking about how to make studying easier, more interesting, and above all, enjoyable for students. She is the founder of Thinking Caps Group, wife, mom of (almost) three, and author of ACT Demystified and Tutor In a Book.