Don’t let your kids’ minds turn to mush over summer! In fact staying active will better keep their minds sharp, rather than simply forcing your kids to read a book. A study published in the scientific journal Neurology last year proved that “physical exercise trumps mental exercise in beating brain shrinkage, which is linked to memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease (HuffPost).” So we combined some basic study topics and came up with some ideas to make them into physical games. Check out our 5 ideas below:

Now, we gave you the building blocks and basic ideas, but we left it up to you to make the nitty-gritty rules.

1. Memory Cones: You will need a set of cones for this exercise. Assign each cone a number and create matching flash cards. Pull out 5 of the cards and call them out. See if each player can run to the correct sequence of cones. They must learn both the sequence and the position of the correctly numbered cone. Another great memory testing game is a dancing game. Stand in a circle and pick someone to start and the direction in which you will go. That person picks a dance move. The next person must do the first dance move and add their own. It keeps building as each person has to repeat the whole sequence before adding their own move.

2. Times Tables Races: You need at least two participants to run this activity. Create three dice: two with numbers 1-6 and the third dice will have 6 different exercises on them. The ref rolls the activity dice first. Then each player rolls a dice. The players must multiply the numbers, call out the answer and then perform that number of reps for the exercise. The first person to correctly call out the answer and perform the correct number of reps wins!

3. Around the world: Have your kid help draw out the U.S. on the pavement. Don’t label the states! Test their geography by calling out the state and seeing if they can run to it. Add a timer for an extra challenge. When it comes time to learn capitals, you can call out the capital and they would have to run to the state.

4. Skip and Spell via FamilyFun‘s May 2013 Issue: The caller (might be a parent, a classmate, or an older sibling) holds the spelling list and the sidewalk chalk. The jumper stands on a paved surface with a jump rope. The caller reads the a word aloud. The jumper spells it aloud and skips once for each letter. The act of sounding it out and placing a beat to the word may help a struggling speller develop a better “sound it out to spell it out” practice.

5. Skinny Mom Spelling Scramble: Create cards on scrap paper, each with one letter of the alphabet. Place the open letters a decent distance away from the kids. Call out a spelling word and have them skip to the letter pile, select the right letters and then correctly spell them (after skipping back) at their starting end.