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Train Your Brain Without School

 

   As summer quickly approaches, some students start to daydream about waking up past noon or running marathons through their favorite Netflix shows. While it’s nice to get some down time after a long school year, students (and parents) need to keep training their brains to keep them from deteriorating. Although the obvious solution to that might be to send kids to academic programs during the summer, there are plenty of other ways to help train their brains without school.
   One of the best ways students can train their brains outside the classroom is by traveling; unfortunately, it’s also one of the costliest and most time-consuming. However, traveling to new places can open their minds to new ideas and cultures, and trying different foods or activities while traveling can also help burst the bubbles that they’re living in. Research shows that students who traveled abroad were more willing to grow and change by trying new things. They were also more emotionally stable and had higher creative thinking abilities than those who didn’t travel. This can even help students in the future since workplaces are growing in demand for globally-minded people.
   Since it’s unlikely that students will be traveling the whole summer, another way to keep training their brains is to learn something new. And when learning something new, it’s best if it’s something completely different from what the student already enjoys doing. For example, an artistic student can try to learn how to play a sport over the summer or an athletic student can learn how to play an instrument. By varying the activities that students do, they can help their brains expand as new connections among neurons are made.
   Another great way for students to exercise their brains is to have them play games. Yes, you read that correctly. However, I’m not talking about the violent shooting type games that don’t require much strategy or thought. The type of games that will help their brains grow are the ones that involve a great amount of strategy and forethought, such as chess, Scrabble, or sudoku. Chess requires players to think many steps in advance, which can help students develop forward thinking skills that simple video games don’t require. Since players often create multiple words at once when playing a turn in Scrabble, it can help their brains create multiple connections simultaneously. Sudoku can especially benefit students who don’t like math since they’ll have to get used to playing around with numbers. While not all kids might like every brain-stretching game, I highly recommend having them try a few to see what peaks their interest.
   While traveling, learning something new, and playing brain games are great, it’s essential to remind students to stay healthy by maintaining a good diet, exercising regularly, and getting good sleep. These are especially important during the summer since it’s easy for students to get into the habit of eating late-night snacks, staying indoors all day, and waking up well past noon. Make sure that students create a schedule for the summer and help them by making sure that they stick to the schedule even though it can sometimes be perceived as nagging. By keeping their bodies healthy, students can get the most from their brain exercises.
   While summer is a great time for students to get plenty of relaxation, it’s never a good time to turn off their brains, especially if they aren’t part of an academic program during the summer. Even without educational programs, students can extend the potential and power of their brains. By venturing to new places, learning new skills, playing thought-provoking games, and staying healthy throughout the summer, students can train their brains without academics and parents can help by supporting their children and making sure they stay on track. As students (and parents) get older, these brain-powering exercises, along with a healthy lifestyle, can keep the body in balance and ensure a thriving future.<*>

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