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Issue: #11
Summer Fun Issue

June 2010


Memorial Day last week, marked the unofficial start of Summer!  I love the summer months to enjoy the warm weather, the sun and a little more relaxed pace.  But I also love summer for the benefits summer recreation can provide for the brain! 

In this issue you will learn how summer recreation can benefit your brain and your children's brains even though they are not in school.

This is also a month to recognize and appreciate fathers! I recently had the wonderful opportunity to do a brain presentation with a group of very dedicated fathers. In celebration of all that Dads contribute to brain development watch for the blog on father's coming soon.

You can also take advantage of the special pricing on The Brain Series. I am honored to have Nickelodeon Parent Connect promoting my brain packets at a special price through June 13th. (see below) These are great gifts for Dad's and Grandfathers. It gives them easy ideas for fun in a very handy format.

Have a enjoyable, fun, and safe beginning to fabulous summer!  Thanks as always for all you are doing to promote the development of healthy brains!

Deborah McNelis
Owner and Creator of braininsights
Did you know....?

the brain is more creative when you are relaxed. 
The brain is actually very active during daydreaming.

...... time spent outdoors in green spaces leads to thinking more clearly, improved attention abilities, and being better able to cope with stress in life.

...... Eating unhealthy foods can lead to feeling depressed, or anxious. Eating healthy foods leads to the release of serotonin, which are the feel good chemicals in the brain. 

Tell everyone you know!!

Summer fun
Summer is my favorite season. Anyone that knows me is aware of the amount of time I spend outdoors and how I love having the windows open.

Most children prefer summer also It makes sense that children like this break from the school year. The summer months naturally provide benefits to the brain. Some aspects that lead to this preference are the opportunity for a less stressed pace, time for play and being outdoors, and more family time.

Sometimes summer is considered a time of "brain drain". However, realizing all of the benefits this time offers to the brain makes it even more pleasurable. Take advantage of all the season has to offer for healthy, happy, and even smarter brains!

Time in Nature
Being outdoors gives the brain relief. The brain has the opportunity to be calmer and not have to be "on alert" as much as it does when in a busy environment.
Nature also provides the chance to explore and learn though using many senses. Strong neural connections are made and more learning takes place when multiple senses are used. 

The Chance to Play
Having time for unstructured play is so welcomed by children (and adults). The brain thrives when playing. Research has shown that play impacts the brain's frontal cortex - "the thinking area" of the brain.
To get the most benefit, play needs to be less structured.

Healthy Foods
Summer is a time when more healthy foods are common. It is an easy time to enjoy a nutritious diet.
The brain functions best when blood sugar levels are kept even. Eating a breakfast that includes protein helps in this and leads to longer attention spans and improved memory abilities.
Fresh fruits and vegetables keep the mind functioning at it's best. Also make sure the brain gets the essential good fats it needs for coating brain connections, through eating fish like salmon, and seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower. And the brain always needs plenty of water.

Family Time
Often the summer months provide for more time together. When there is time to do fun interactive activities, laugh, and enjoy each other the brain benefits greatly. More learning takes place through these types of activities than watching television and they activate higher functioning areas of the brain as well.
For a free daily family activity idea you can go to the braininsights home page. An activity is provided along with an explanation of how the brain benefits from the interaction.

The brain does not like chaos or stress. Summer can provide a time of relaxation for the brain. A less busy schedule feels good. However, the brain does not like to be bored and it likes structure. So establishing a summer routine that is fun and less busy is important. The brain feels calmer and less stressed when it knows what to expect. It loves having fun activities to look forward to.

A few great resources on these topics for summer reading:

Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. by Stuart Brown, MD

Last Child in the Woods; Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. by Richard Louv

New Optimum Nutrition For The Mind by Patrick Holford

If you are aware of additional resources on this topic that others can benefit from please forward them to me and I will share with braininsights readers! 
If you are a parent or a professional working with children and families, you can get activity ideas on how to easily incorporate loving interactions into a daily routine and learn how it all benefits brain development by visiting for The Brain Development Series.

Your organization or workplace will also benefit from learning more about the brain. To arrange a presentation
that fits your needs, contact Deborah at


Summer fun* I'm excited to announce HEALTHY braininsights!  A new collaboration with Lauren Zimet of EARLY INSIGHTS, LLC.  The collaboration focuses on optimally developing brains and enhancing brain health throughout the lifespan.

* The Brain Development Activity Packet Series will soon be available in Spanish!  For more information please contact me.

* Father's Day is just around the corner and braininsights activity packets make great Father's Day gifts!

* FREE Family Activity Ideas are posted everyday weekday on the braininsights website.  Check back daily to find a new activity to do with your family. 

* braininsights activity packets are now available at Learning Shop locations through out Wisconsin!

* You can receive daily Brain Facts delivered directly to your email inbox.  Sign up here to receive updates from the braininsights blog.

Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog* The are new features on the Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog.  A resource list is now available if you would like to find out more about brain development or specific areas of brain development.  Also, I will be answering common reader questions about brain development.  So if you have a question about one of the brain facts or other area of brain development, leave a comment or email me and your question may be answered in the next blog post!

* Vote for the Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog as a Top Baby Blog. Just click here and you have voted! 
Vote For Us @ Top Baby Blogs


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15% off entire order
with Nickelodeon Parent's Connect

Nickelodeon Parents Connect

School's almost over, but little brains can keep strong over summer with the braininsights line of age-appropriate activity packets. Save 15% on expert-developed ideas to promote learning through everyday activities!

Enter code NICK at check out  

Offer Expires:  June 13, 2010