Summer brain drain is a reality for students (and parents!) alike. Although it comes with different names, including the summer slide and summer learning loss, they all mean the same thing. According to, the answer to the question of “What is summer brain drain?” is as follows: “…over the summer vacation children are likely to forget a lot of the information and knowledge they have picked up over the past academic year.”

Although the definition is helpful, what’s most important is discovering how to avoid it so that children can stay sharp and ready for fall while still enjoying fun in the sun. The overarching strategy is to keep families engaged with mentally stimulating activities and routines, and here are tips and hints.

First, don’t panic! There are plenty of ways to help kids to keep learning all summer along, including summer reading programs at your local library. Reading helps children to solidify vocabulary words they learned in school while picking up new ones. To help your child even more, ask them to give you a five-minute summary of each book they read. This will help them to organize and vocalize thoughts while getting assistance with any unfamiliar words.

Next up, incorporate math into everyday activities like talking about prices at the supermarket or creating questions about nature on your walks. Ask how many packs of burgers you can buy for $10 if they cost $2.50 apiece or how many leaves would be on a tree if each of the 10 branches has 20 of them.

Recipes can do double duty as your children first read the instructions and then measure ingredients. notes how you can “even make an exotic culinary masterpiece to discuss new flavors and cultures!”

Mayo Clinic, meanwhile, shares how the park is a wonderful place to find built-in science learning opportunities. Your children can identify different trees, leaves, insects, rocks, clouds, weeds, and wildflowers. Free apps like Merlin will help them to identify birds by their song or appearance and, when the Cleveland Metroparks or the Lorain County Metroparks hold programs, take advantage of them to learn even more from a trained naturalist.

Relevancy, Repetition, and Rewards

Those are the three Rs discussed in an article published by To keep learning going during the summer and to prevent a slide, relate learning activities to their interests to create engagement. One-and-done isn’t going to be enough, so use repetition; with reading, for example, 15-20 minutes daily is recommended.

Then, reward your children for their engagement—perhaps by a trip to a science museum or their favorite park.

Ongoing Learning With Horizon Education Centers

Although knowing the answer to the question of “What is summer brain drain?” may be important, here’s what really matters: prevention. At our child care centers, we offer engaging, age-appropriate opportunities for learning throughout the entire year with infant care, toddler programs, preschool programs, school-age programs, and summer camp.

Horizon Education Centers offers childcare in Northeast Ohio. Centers are located in Cuyahoga County and Lorain County.