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As an educator, you may find yourself frustrated by the fact that after three months of blissfully brainless summer, your students return to school nowhere near ready to resume their studies.  In truth, the time off spells nothing so much as a loss of retained knowledge and an itch to relive their recent days of freedom.  So what can you do, as a teacher, to encourage kids to keep learning over the summer?  The best way is to introduce them to fun learning tools that speak to their techno-savvy generation (although you will almost certainly have to get their parents on board to ensure participation).

For starters, there are a lot of fun resources on the internet that offer educational games, reading, and activities for kids of all ages (and most of them are free).  Hook your students up with websites like Kid’s Domain for crafts and outdoor activities, Funbrain for games, quizzes, and web books by subject and grade, DimensionM to teach math through multiplayer games, and Book Adventure, a site sponsored by Sylvan Learning Center that offers book lists for all reading levels and interests.  Even NASA has a Kids’ Club with games and educational information.  But these are just a few.  You can find a lot more if you look around (from generic to those tailored for specific subjects or grade levels).

And you know that most kids are going to spend the summer texting, tweeting, or playing with one of a myriad of tech gadgets that they seem to pick up quicker than riding a bike these days.  So why not find some fun activities that allow them to utilize these tools in an educational capacity?  There are a few good learning games for traditional consoles and handhelds, like Brain Age for the Nintendo DS and DS Lite, which offers word and number puzzles, math problems, and memory tests, as well as Xbox Live Marketplace offerings like Brain Challenge (for older kids, this one has a multiplayer option) and Math Sniper 3D (to keep on top of the multiplication tables).  But there are a lot more options for cell phones (updates of classics like Scrabble, Sudoku, and The Oregon Trail) as well as apps for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad (Math Magic, World Countries All-In-One, and Textropolis are just a few of the dozens of educational games to be found at Apple’s iTunes store).

Even better, suggest that your kids consider tech camp as an alternative to the more outdoorsy summer camps of old.  Many states now offer tech-centric alternatives like cyber camps that match practical physics applications with computer software, discovery camps that explore the history of technology, and a wide variety of science camps.  Kids who like media can also look into summer film or music programs, many of which now integrate computers and other tech devices for a generation of on-the-go kids.  Whatever avenue sparks your students’ interest, they are sure to return after the long summer with a better prepared to ease back into the rigors of school.

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Alexis Montgomery is a content writer for Online Universities, where you can browse through various online degree programs to find a college that suits your needs.