5 Apps to Stop the “Summer Brain Drain”

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It happens to the best of us. Every year, summer rolls around and there are a million-and-one reasons for us to sit back, relax and let our brains turn to mush. Okay, maybe not “mush” per se, but we all know that feeling of “forgetting everything I learned last year,” returning to school each year. In fact, a study at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that when students (Kindergarten through University) return to school after a long summer vacation, they lose one to three months’ worth of learning. Whether you’re a parent looking to reverse the dreaded “summer brain drain” for your child, a student returning to  college this fall or just want a brain boost, here are some apps that will help:

 Khan Academy

Free for iOS

Khan Academy is a pocket classroom that allows you to learn almost anything for free. Subjects range from learning to count and read, to organic chemistry and macroeconomics. Khan Academy delivers an extensive library of content that is not only easy to use, but teaches you everything you need to know, step-by-step with thousands of videos and visuals. The best part is it is self-paced — so you can always go back and re-watch a video until you master that skill! Help your kids get ahead this summer, or master a subject yourself to stay sharp and get ahead in your career.

khans academy


Free for limited access iOS, Android

A leader in the science of “brain training,” this popular app is designed to engage any type of user — from kids to college students to parents. The app is split into memory, attention, problem solving and processing speed games that each track your progress and change every time you play. With one session a day, you can improve you or your child’s mental skills while having fun!



Free for iOS, Android

Read, read, read! We all know the benefits of reading: a broader vocabulary, increased cognition, increased knowledge — all tools to keep your brain sharp.  Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading, and the Amazon Kindle app makes it easy with over a million books at your fingertips. The app features thousands of free ebooks including classics like “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” and “Pride & Prejudice,” plus hundreds of free children’s books too!



Free for iOS

 A happy brain is a healthy brain. The app was designed to boost your happiness and feel better about yourself and your life. With personalized activities based on neuroscience and psychology research, the app trains your brain to be happier, empowering users to take charge of their life. It features quizzes, polls and a “gratitude journal” that all come together to keep users smiling all day. A positive outlook is paramount to keeping the mind sharp and ever growing.


Sleep Cycle

Free for iOS

It’s no secret that a good night’s sleep makes you feel better and mentally sharper. During sleep, your brain is at work processing information, forming memories and recuperating from our busy lives. Sleep Cycle was developed as “an intelligent alarm clock” that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you up in the “lightest sleep phase.” In doing so, the app allows you to wake up feeling rested, relaxed and ready to go. The app monitors your movement during sleep and then finds the optimal time to wake you up during a 30 minute window that ends at your set alarm time. So work hard, play hard and get some sleep!

sleep cycle

Other brain boosting tips to keep in mind:

  1. Eat healthy and drink plenty of water! Summer is a great time to start eating healthier, so enjoy some lean meats like salmon, oxidative wonder fruits like blueberries and vitamin E rich nuts and seeds. They all provide power packed energy to keep you moving and nutrients and vitamins to keep you and your kids’ brains sharp and ready to go.
  2. Exercise! Whether you go running, play soccer, go for a walk or go for a hike, exercise helps you release dopamine and serotonin — chemicals that make you feel calm and happy. That happiness and positivity translate to productivity.
  3. Remember to keep your tablet safe and always ready to go with the new OtterBox Agility Series! This series includes dynamic folios, docks and the awesome Wall Mount where you can mount your tablet to create a smart station for even more productivity.

About the author

Karam Ahmad

Karam Ahmad

I’m a Colo(rad)o native with Mesopotamian roots. I love to write, create new ideas, play and watch soccer (the true football) and have a strong passion for social and environmental justice. I’m a fan of truly absurd humor and a little obsessed with national flags (you name it, I can identify it). When I am not at work, you can find me devouring spicy foods, hiking the Rockies with my friends, or playing and listening to music — yes, all in that order. My name means “generosity” and I try my best to live by it in all that I do.

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