Summer Brain Games at Museum of Science and Industry

June 25, 2012 4:04:40 AM PDT
In this "For Your Family," creative and fun ideas for all parents out there who want to stop and prevent the so-called "summer brain drain".

Research shows that when students return to school after a long summer break, they've lost one to three months worth of learning!

Mindy Baumgartner from Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, says the museum has "Summer Brain Games" to keep the kids learning and engaged.

A few of the fun things you can do at home with your kids, to keep their brains moving:

: 1) woodland terrarium - learning about eco-systems
2) solar oven- learning about solar energy
3) water balloon catapult - simple machines

To join in "Summer Brain Games," log on to www.msichicago.org/summerbrain and follow a weekly guide of fun and educational experiments designed by the Museum of Science and Industry.

(PRESS RELEASE)
PLAY SUMMER BRAIN GAMES WITH MSI! Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago launches free online summer science kit to engage families at home, prevent "summer brain drain"

School's out; brains can turn off, right? Wrong. Summer can be a great time for kids to learn in a whole new way. And the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago is offering eight weeks of ways for parents across the country to keep their kids engaged in science with the online program Summer Brain Games.

Research shows kids can lose one to three months of learning over the summer, i.e., the "summer brain drain." In a poll conducted for the Museum (MSI) by ORC International, 69 percent of parents said they are concerned their kids will forget the knowledge they learned during the school year, while 88 percent said it's important to them to find educational activities for their children in the summer.

Summer Brain Games, perfect for families with kids of various ages, fights the "summer brain drain" with a FREE online activity kit featuring weekly, at-home experiments on summery science themes. The experiments can be done with some adult supervision and items that are easily and inexpensively purchased-or found around the house. The kit is available in both English and Spanish.

"The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago knows there is a definite need for activities and programs to keep kids learning during the summer," said Nicole Kowrach, the Museum's director of teaching and learning. "Studies show that some kids can tune out during the summer months and lose critical knowledge and thinking skills they need to begin a successful new school year. With Summer Brain Games, we are offering families an easy way to engage with each other, learn some science and have fun doing it." In the Summer Brain Games online kit, a bright, sunny day poses a chance to learn about solar power. A simple machine like a catapult can make an ordinary water balloon fight extraordinary. And making tasty ice cream can teach about temperature changes. In addition to these weekly experiments, the kit offers other engaging tidbits about the science to be found around us all summer-and year-long! Why do cans of regular soda sink in the cooler while diet soda floats? What's happening when a beam of light bounces off certain objects and not others? What are the forces of flight that keep airplanes in the air?

In addition to promoting this program to families across Chicago and the nation, the Museum's Center for the Advancement of Science Education (CASE) has teamed up with 10 community organizations and kids clubs in low-income communities mostly on Chicago's West and South sides to provide, at no cost, all the materials necessary to complete the experiments. CASE staff members will be visiting each community group to deliver materials, provide printed kit booklets and introduce the program. "Kids from disadvantaged communities can suffer the most from the summer brain drain," said Kowrach. "They often don't have the support they need to keep learning during a several month break from school. By engaging these community groups in Summer Brain Games, we hope to help these kids prepare for a successful school year ahead."

HOW TO BECOME A SUMMER BRAINAIC, AND WIN PRIZES, TOO! Families who register to be "Summer Brainiacs" at www.msichicago.org/summerbrain will receive a voucher good for a FREE general admission ticket to MSI. (One per household.) Participants will get weekly emails with tips on each experiment and additional ways to play with science during the summer. And, each week, one lucky winner will receive a family membership to MSI to experience a whole YEAR of science. Participants will also be invited to share their Summer Brain Games experiences with at least one photo and a brief essay about what they learned for a chance to win a tech package-a notebook computer, iPad and digital camera!

Visit www.msichicago.org/summerbrain now to register and learn more. The eight weeks of activities will be available online by June 18 and run through August 12, 2012.


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