Kristin McCormick and Jenna Sumner from New Jersey are two licensed mental health professionals and educators who worked together to create the UPside Delivered—curated boxes for children ages 5-10, to help child have fun with their feelings.

Below are a few tips and tricks they’ve compiled to prevent summer brain drain and keep kids and families busy and happy while they are out of school.

What Are the Signs, Symptoms or Issues That Can Arise Out of “Summer Brain Drain”?

While some research shows children potentially losing skills based in math, language and reading over the summer, educators know that practice with these very skills and keeping the brain engaged is extremely important and helpful. Therefore, the signs and symptoms or issues that can possibly arise from “summer brain drain” are only apparent if the child spends a large amount of time in passive activities and is not active, physically or mentally, over the summer. Then you may see behaviors such as irritability, low frustration tolerance, emotional outbursts when asked to transition, difficulty sleeping or sleeping for too long. Additionally when not much is done to keep our brains active over the summer, the transition back to school may be slower and more difficult.

To help your kids manage their emotions, UPside Delivered’s carefully curated boxes for ages 5-10 years-old bring practical, fun, evidence-based tools and techniques to children and families, helping everyone to create calm. Pick the “Begin Box” that introduces the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Each box features five to seven items that your children can use to name their thoughts and feelings, journals, worry dolls, Buddha Boards and more.

Of course, parents are probably even more worried this year, following the 2020-21 pandemic school year. The concern of students “falling behind,” particularly in areas of math and language arts have been on the minds of parents and educators. While yes, students have missed some lessons and practice, they are not quite as far behind overall—they will get there! Learning is not linear and takes place in all settings, both formal and informal education is valuable.

Finding the balance between keeping kids engaged—socially and educationally—and allowing them enough down time is the goal to optimize learning and overall well-being. To offset any concerns, check out these fun subscription boxes that will get your kids exploring, learning and having fun at the same time.

  • OwlCrate Jr., is an award-winning monthly subscription book box. The boxes are curated for kids ages 8-12, and each box includes a brand-new novel, an exclusive letter from the author, plus cool activities, games, and fun goodies related to the theme of the month.
  • If cooking is more up your alley, learn about new countries and their cuisines with eat2explore! Each month kids receive an explorer box which includes: three recipe cards, a flag pin, country sticker, essential spices, activity sheet and a collectible. Choose from 18 different countries/regions like Italy, Mexico, Japan or USA North just to name a few. The kits combine history, geography, social studies, math and more as children create delicious, healthy meals right at home.
  • Learn even more about different cultures and diversity thanks to Little Global Citizens. This subscription service (send one time, every two months or every other month for a year) sends an expertly designed box to kids (aged 4-to-10) to bring a new country and its culture to life. Each box is filled with items from that country including authentic guides, crafts, screen-free activities (games and puzzles), language skills, recipes, a story book and more! Past boxes included China, India, Kenya, Egypt and Thailand.
  • Learn about women who have changed the world with GIRLS CAN! CRATE. This awesome monthly subscription box was created to empower girls—and boys (ages 5-10) to Do and BE anything by introducing them to fearless women of history who made the world better. Each month, a new kit celebrates the life of a strong, diverse female role model such as Ella Fitzgerald, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai, Sally Ride and more.

At the end of the day, we need to keep everything in perspective, especially with young kids, and realize that we all made it through one of the toughest years of our lives. Let your kids enjoy the outdoors this summer, learn a new recipe, explore a new book and country from home or even an extra few minutes on their electronics devices. Let’s celebrate that we’ve come up on the other side and that the future is bright with possibilities!

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