Stop brain drain!

With summer just around the corner, our minds begin to wander to our most cherished seasonal distractions. We daydream about sleeping in each morning, walking barefoot on a beach, fireworks lighting up the sky. We think about grilling with friends, catching up on news with relatives, and eating fresh, seasonal produce. You can practically smell the barbeque in the air!

One thing that probably did not come to mind when reminiscing about summers past is … your brain! Our brains, much like our bodies, need daily exercise. But with school books tossed aside, the mind is usually put on snooze for those precious months. According to a recent study by Dr. Harris Cooper, professor of psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia, children lose one to three months of learning over the summer. Required summer reading can help trigger vocabulary and reading skills, but most parents aren’t aware that learning loss is more detrimental for math than any other subject!

Thankfully, there is a way that, as a family, you can keep your minds sharp and your math skills at the ready. Two new children’s titles are designed to make math relevant, interesting and provide hours of family fun.

Do you think your older brother knows which shapes cannot make tessellations? Can your mom figure out what the speed of sound is at different altitudes? Could you solve the “Mystery of the Lawn Ranger” before your cousin?

Test all these things and more with these great new children’s math titles from Science, Naturally!

One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math!” challenges readers to solve short word problems using nothing but the clues presented in the problem and their critical thinking skills.

On each page readers will discover a new word problem that relates the mathematical concepts to everyday situations. For example, in the “Mystery of the Pancake Mix-up,” Meg has to use least common multiples to measure out the correct ingredients when making breakfast. These short, on-the-go problems are designed to make math accessible and fun.

“These mysteries were a huge hit in my classroom as brainteasers to the start of the lesson, but they were an even bigger hit with my own children during long road trips,” said Richard Wyatt a parent and teacher from San Diego.

101 Things Everyone Should Know About Math!” is a question-and-answer book that divides mathematical concepts into sections that relate to everyday life, including nutrition, travel and sports. Questions are listed first so readers can test themselves before refering to the answers in the back. Readers can quiz themselves, family and friends with these fun and challenging questions

“My kids loved it when they answered more questions than I could. I loved to see them having so much fun while learning!” said Deborah Crowley, a parent and home school provider from Baltimore

For those who want more, check out the first volume of each of these books, “One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!” and “101 Things Everyone Should Know About Science.” Both have won awards and recognition including the coveted NSTA Recommends honor.

Let these books help your family start new summer traditions. Next year, when you think of summer, you may still smell the barbeque — but your memories may also include an epic family battle of wits! By the time the shorter days signal the start of school, you may need to worry about shopping for back to school clothes, but you won’t have to worry about summer’s brain drain.