Avoid Summer Brain Drain

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Now that summer’s here and the kids are home, parents are looking for ways to keep their little one’s minds sharp over break. While activity books, worksheets, and reading are all important to keep learning locked in, there are fun toys you can add into the mix that kids will enjoy playing (er, learning) with.  Hey, as long as they go back to school ready, willing, and able, that’s all that matters.


Telly the Teaching Time Clock is perfect for kids learning to tell time.  No matter if your child is just starting, or trying to perfect his or her skill, this cute clock will be a fun teaching tool.  You can teach your kids both analog and digital time, which is hard to find on the same teaching clock.  There is also a “quiz mode”, where Telly will ask children to match the time shown on his face by moving the hands on his (literal) face. Bonus- Telly is a real, fully functional, working clock, making him perfect for a child’s bedroom.  He comes with three AA batteries, and sells for $28 on http://www.tlji.com

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Use the Magnetic Spell and Learn Board to teach your kids letters, sounds, and spelling- this is a good tool for a variety of learners and abilities. Some of the  magnets have short words and pictures of the words on them, which encourages children to sound out the word, and spell it for themselves using the magnet letters. Grow their spelling as well as phonics skills while also developing early vocabulary abilities. The board and interlocking magnets make putting words together easy, and since there is a storage compartment, keeping it all together until next time is a breeze.  No one likes lost pieces, and and most parents love things that are easy to clean up and keep track of.  Available for $20 on http://www.tlji.com


For a more hands on experience, try the Scientific Explorer Turbo Land Rocket.  This is a lot of fun for a single child or whole brood- and parents.  A rocket you build together, it comes with almost everything you need (and directions that are easy to follow, no worries!) Able to speed faster then a racecar, it’s “fuel” is baking soda and vinegar (the only things not included). Build your rocket, add the fuel, and watch it go!  You will want to do this more then once (you can!), and you might attract some of the neighbor kids as well (we did).  The package claims it can go over 200 feet- we didn’t get ours that far, but pretty close- and we had a blast doing it.  Available for $26 on http://poof-slinky.com


See science bloom- and have a hand in it with Root-Vue.  Grow an indoor garden, and watch it take root. You and your children can watch root vegetables grow underground through clear on both sides plastic windows, which is also the growing unit.  Watch veggie tops grow up as the roots grow down.  It has a water basin and drainage system (so no mess),  “8 super-expanding grow mix wafers, 3 packets of seeds, identification labels, water wicks for self-watering system and 16 page booklet with complete instructions and experiments” (as per RootVue).  This is a fun project for kids that they can watch and see the growth daily.  Not to mention, a great way to get them to eat their veggies (and a good way to teach them where food comes from). Available for $35 on http://www.hspnaturetoys.com

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