Educational (and fun) events in August to avoid ‘brain-drain’

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As school comes to an end and kids flock back home for the long summer ahead, their learning often gets left behind. Months out of the classroom makes retaining lessons into the next school year a challenge.

Studies dating back to the 1990s estimate that the average student loses one to three months of what they learned during the school year over summer break.

What’s now referred to as the “summer slide” or “summer brain drain” intensifies in higher grade levels and hits low-income kids especially hard. Luckily, there are options.

Kids don’t have to lose out on having fun during the summertime to learn a thing or two. And parents don’t have to carve out chunks out of their paychecks to help them along the way.

Listed below are some free or affordable educational events for children and parents that are taking place in the Twin Cities in August.

Neighborhood Night

Enjoy a small camping experience fit for all ages every Thursday at the park’s weekly Neighborhood Night program. Learn basic outdoor skills like starting and maintaining a campfire. Or just sit back, relax and enjoy the food, fun, and flames in the evening time. Admission is free and spaces are unlimited. The event is weekly on Thursdays from 6-8 pm at North Mississippi Regional Park located at 5116 N Mississippi Dr. in Minneapolis. For more info or to register, visit www.minneapolisparks.org.


Power of Produce Club 

Help those in your care learn to form healthy eating habits. Each child in the program, which is for ages four to 12, receive $2 in market tokens per visit to spend on fresh produce. Registration and check-in can be found at the information booth. The event occurs each Saturday in August from 9 am to 1 pm at Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market located at 629 2nd St. in Minneapolis. 


Sensory Friendly Sundays

Explore exhibits and other programs that take into consideration the needs of those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other sensory processing disorders. Children 3 and under enter for free, while tickets for children ages 4 to 12 cost $5. Tickets for ages 13 to 24 and seniors are $8, and $10 for adults. The event is Sunday, Aug. 11 from 10:30 am to noon at The Bakken Museum, located at 3537 Zenith Ave., S in Minneapolis.


Family Funday: Ugh-a-Bug

Learn about the wide variety of insects and make bug-inspired art. Admission is free. Pre-registration is preferred but not required. The event is Sunday, Aug. 18 from

1 to 3 pm at North Mississippi Regional Park. For more info or to register, visit www.minneapolisparks.org.


Family Fun Night: The Science of Me 

Get a crash course on the ins and outs of the human body with experts on the human heart and a blood scientist. The educational fun is free for kids under 18. The event is Tuesday, Aug. 20 from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Bakken Museum.


Outdoors: Beneficial Botany 

Explore the different ways people have used plants for generations. Learn how to identify edible plants, those with medicinal benefits and plants that create natural color dyes. Admission is free for ages 8 and up. Spaces are limited so register soon. The event is Saturday, Aug. 24 from 3 to 4:30 pm at North Mississippi Regional Park. For more info or to register, visit www.minneapolisparks.org.

Dalvin Aboagye welcomes readers responses to dalvin.aboagye@gmail.com.