TODAY   |  August 01, 2013

Fun ways to help kids avoid summer brain drain

August is here, and it won’t be long before it’s time to go back to school. To help ease your kids’ transitions back into the classroom, Mary Giles of Family Fun magazine shares some fun, active games that will keep their brains sharp.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it is the 1st day of august, the peak of your kids' summer pontchartra brain drain, you might say, and you may be looking for ways to get them back into gear for the school year.

>> look no further. editor of "family fun" magazine here to keep kids' minds and bodies busy. all these games have some sort of active component to them.

>> that's right. there's been more and more research done that shows, when kids are moving, they're actually more likely to learn what it is that you're trying to teach them. all of these have some sort of active component as well.

>> educational component.

>> calculator hop scotch .

>> so millie is here to show us what we're doing. you can do this with addition, subtraction, multiplication, division. you toss a stone, hopefully hit the number 1 there to get started. and do some sort of equation that equals that 1. 2 equals -- keep going, lily. you've got 1 plus 1. she can come up with all sorts of equations that equal that 2 or go on to the number 3 , all the way up to 9. and then keep doing it with division, multiplication, practicing your math skills.

>> that's a good idea.

>> next beach ball math. this is natasha and lily. toss the beach ball , and whichever number -- go ahead, guys. lands under your right thumb, you call out that number.

>> 2.

>> 11.

>> and then the next person adds up 2 plus 11. so natasha's got --

>> 13.

>> that's right. and you can also do that with multiplication for older kids.

>> live tv, never an easy thing to do that.

>> next we've got eamon. this is a great way. kids love to pound the hammer. while they're doing that, they can learn the names of the flowers around me.

>> these are cool. beautiful art. you can also turn them into gift cards and gift tags, that kind of thing.

>> nice prints.

>> exactly.

>> frame that and send that to grandma.

>> bright and beautiful artwork. what you do, you get a piece of scrap or just lay down some newspaper, and eamon, you want to choose a pretty flower. that's an iris. that's great. going to lay down watercolor paper, put your paper towel on top, and grab the hammer and pound the flower. you can see the color coming through the paper towel , and you know it's transferring to the watercolor paper below.

>> don't do this on a glass table.

>> probably not a good idea.

>> next we've got a ter airium.

>> terrariums are a great way to learn about the ecosystem. just need a layer of pebbles, three inches of dirt. little moss, garden center .

>> can you reach in there?

>> you can decorate them for kids. the fun part is decorating them with pebbles. you can see the water circulating and the precipitation gathers on top and rains back down and creates its own ecosystem.

>> letters on the lawn game .

>> we're just about out of time. we really thank you.

>> letters on the lawn.

>> we'll be back in a moment. we have this all on our website. first this is "today" on nbc.

>>> quickly, one great game. lawn squares. kind of like scrabble.

>> letters on the lawn.

>> this is sophia doing that.

>> thank you, sophia.

>>> coming up next, kathie lee and hoda hang out with bill paxton .

>> and ambush makeovers.

>> excellent job. first, your local