SUMMER BRAKES: Do kids really want educational toys over summer?

Summer vacation for kids always centers on the notion that school is out, and books and studying become virtually obsolete for the next three months.

So when talk during the summer turns to toys or games when it comes to kids, rarely does the rhetoric touch on products that would be deemed as educational. Perhaps that notion is quickly vanquished by parents and kids alike given the time or year, figuring that all parties involved need a bit of a break from the serious, and summer should be a time for children to relax and enjoy their time off.

That sentiment seems justified as the school year often can be taxing on kids, but parents must ultimately walk a fine line between allowing kids to completely vegetate for three months or inundate them with what essentially could be considered an extension of school that just ended.

Somewhere between those two ideas is the happy medium from a toy or game standpoint.

That’s why it’s so important for parents to find toys and games that continually engage kids through the months of June, July and August but do so almost as a guise of something fun. That combination isn’t quite as easy to find at the toy store or online, but that’s why parents must really look long and hard if they’re truly intent on introducing a new toy during this time period.

Perhaps moms and dads could introduce kids to an engaging puzzle on a rainy July afternoon or elicit some sort of response when the sun is shining by presenting their children with something that might promote getting outside versus handing them a PlayStation 4 game.

Often overlooked are toys in the summer months that range from a new bicycle to other outdoor and sports related items that get kids off the couch and out the door. Exercise and activity is directly related to kids staying focused and creative even when school isn’t in session. Parents don’t necessarily have to equate education with textbooks or lesson plans when it comes to finding the right toy, but rather can think outside the box and infuse athletics and sports as a suitable replacement genre.

No one is suggesting that parents play the role of teacher this summer and forcing their kids to sit behind a makeshift, at home desk to do more math problems or reading assignments. But summer should be about at least harnessing and fostering a modicum of mental capacity to keep kids sharp before the next school year rolls around.


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