Oh sweet Summertime, filled with beach blankets, ice cream, water activities, and long days of sunlight and recreation. Wait. Students, what about your brain? “NVM” may be the answer of choice to that question. But summer time is crucial to maintaining and prepping brainpower for the school year.

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There is a great deal of scientific explanation that the brain is a muscle and should be exercised as such. Three months without intellectual stimulation might seem like the right of passage after a whirlwind school year, but so you don’t experience even the smallest amount of brain muscle atrophy, consider these summer learning activities.


Extra, Extra, Read All About It!

When you find yourself visiting the nearest beach, hiking trail, or amusement park, take a moment to drop into the visitor’s center or gift shop. In there you can find brochures about the history of the attraction. Reading the brief brochure, not only deposits a drop of history and trivial pursuit, but it also increases well being. Reading is said to reduce stress and slow brain cell loss.

What about taking in a novel for the summer? Although research shows that the average amount of time that teens spend reading outside of school days is eights minutes a day, who wants to be average? There is  no time to waste for college students. College students are said to need two – three hours of studying for every three credit course each week. That’s six to nine hours of studying per class each week. This summer check out a book or two from the library. You increase the circulation of local libraries and exercise the brain with a new adventure, romance, or non-fiction. Really want to get a jump on next year’s course readings? Get an online subscription to a journal in your concentration area. And let’s not forget that reading increases your vocabulary.

Seven days without exercise makes one weak.

Aerobic exercise not only benefits your physical strength, but it also improves memory, learning. According to Harvard Medical School researchers have found that aerobic exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, the portion of the brain responsible for memory, along with moods and the autonomic nervous system (breathing, heart beat, digestion). So get up and get going – increase your brain and body power.

Each One Teach One.

The power of one can be a great boost to summer learning. Reach out to someone a few years younger or a few years older and share an article, book, or expertise in an area. According to the work of Psychologist Lev Vygotsky and other educators who have used Vygotsky’s work with Zone of Proximal Development, children greatly benefit from the influence of adults or peers with greater proficiency in areas. When children are in purposeful engagement with higher ability individuals, their abilities also increase. So, volunteer with children in you community or family. These youngsters can improve problem solving, literacy, and social behaviors by reading or playing with you.

Volunteerism words of wisdom…

‘We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronal Reagan

“ Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are we doing for others?” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Reading; Happy Summer!

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