Stop Kids' Brain Drain

iAssociate is an addictive word-association game. Players start with one word or topic and then use connotations, synonyms and definitions associated with that word to build a web of words. For example, "movie genres" leads to "thriller" which connects to "Michael Jackson," then to "King of Pop," then "scream," which takes you to another movie genre -- horror.

iAssociate 2 is available for free.

Web Extra Pick: Language Arts Windows

Carson-Dellosa publishing, ages 6+

Younger kids can use these self-checking cards over and over again -- provided you use a dry erase marker rather than a Sharpie. The cards fit in a binder and quiz kids on consonants, vowel sounds, plural endings and the like. It also comes in Math Windows.

Web Extra Pick: 'Words With Friends' by Newtoy, Inc.

Free/$2.99 (ads/ad-free), ages 12+, Available on /iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad

If you like Scrabble, you'll like Words With Friends, a word game that you can play on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with friends. So if you have a texting, Facebook, Twitter-obsessed teen, this is a great way to get them thinking while they chat online.

Web Takeaway Science Tricks

Plan a treasure hunt with clues and puzzles to analyze and solve.
Chores can be a great way to talk about science: Why is vinegar a surprisingly effective cleaning product? Etc.

A Few More Things You Can Do for Free (or Nearly Free)

Encourage them to keep a journal or help them start a blog.
Buy the script of their favorite movie or grab a play (and take turns "acting"). Or encourage them to write their own scripts and possibly film it themselves.
Bring back the pen pal -- either via snail mail or email.
Start a summer book club.
Introduce them to the Scholastic Story Starter, which offers prompts to get their creative writing juices flowing.

Click here to return to the "Good Morning America" website.

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