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Summer Brain Games

For Your Study Group

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You may be on summer vacation, but if you're like many college-bound teens, you still want to exercise your brain somewhat during the off months.

There's no need to go overboard with college prep activities; the last thing you want to do is to drive yourself into a state of burnout before your senior year arrives. There are ways to keep your mind active and have fun at the same time.

Laugh and Learn

Summer is a great time to turn learning into a game. The pressure is off now, so you can just relax with your friends and come up with creative ways to challenge each other and learn at the same time. These are just a few ideas to get you in the mood.

Word a Week Challenge

You and a group of like-minded friends can build word power with this amusing exercise. Each week, one person from the group should choose a random vocabulary word. The stranger the better.

Sample words: bodacious (blatant), kerfuffle (commotion), menagerie (collection of animals), obfuscate (to blur or make confusing).

That student should email the word of the week to the group. Then, each member will find a way to slip the word into casual conversation at some point during the week. You may get some strange looks, depending on the word. The catch is, you can't tell your parents or anyone outside the group that it's a game. After a few weeks, your parents might start worrying about you—but you can explain later.

At the end of each week, your group can share stories about weird looks, strange circumstances, and confused siblings.

Math Chain

If your group is into arithmetic, another way to play summer mind games is to create a giant math problem, one step at a time. You will start out with a rather complex math equation in the first place, then add to it every day.

Each student will add a new step to the equation via email or phone communication. At the end of every week, the group can compare notes and see if everyone comes up with the same answer. If not—compare notes and find out where the communication broke down.

Literature Hunt

One way to complete your college reading list and have fun is to create a literature-based treasure hunt, of sorts. There are several ways to arrange this: either one person can create an entire list of "clues" and answers each day, or each member of your group can contribute one clue and the group forms the "hunt" collectively.

The clues can be an obscure quote, a riddle, or a reference to a character from a major work of literature that appears on typical college reading lists.

Sample list of clues:

  • What does a ghost say?
  • A breakable zoo.
  • Roses are read, violets are this.
  • A really chewy grape.

Can you decipher the reading list?

  • To Kill a Mockingbird (Boo Radley)
  • The Glass Menagerie
  • The Color Purple
  • A Raisin in the Sun

With a little practice and some group brainstorming, you and your friends can come up with fun and entertaining ways to sharpen your intellect during those long, lazy summer days.
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