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Summer Brain Quest: For Adventures Between Grades K & 1 Review by Pam Havens

Workman Publishing
225 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014

Summer brings new routines for children who have worked so hard learning throughout the year.  Yet, summer does not mean completely turning a child’s brain off, so using a wonderful resource that is exciting and engaging such as Summer Brain Quest: For Adventures Between Grades K & 1, by Workman Publishing, keeps little people’s minds sharpened.  This workbook, retails for $12.95, is complete in itself and needs nothing more than a sharpened pencil and crayons.  Summer Brain Quest is an extremely colorful way for learning to happen without a child feeling as if they are doing schoolwork.  It is an engaging journey through phonics, reading, writing, counting, shapes, seasons, habitats, map skills, as well as drawing with their imagination.  This workbook comes with a pull-out map that is used to track the child’s progress throughout the eight levels.  A sticker is placed on the appropriate space on the map once the child has completed the corresponding page.  Each activity includes curriculum-based exercises and simple bonus challenges that will coordinate with over one-hundred and fifty stickers.  After all eight levels are complete, there are additional bonus activities such as outside quests, Summer Brain Quest reading list, and Summer Brain Quest Mini Deck which are questions and answers.  There is even an answer key for each of the eight levels to provide the child any extra help needed.  This workbook provides the core concepts of English, language arts, math, science and social studies, which are the necessary foundational skills, that need to be enhanced between the end of kindergarten and the beginning of first grade.

We used this workbook as a supplement after completing kindergarten.  My six-year-old was extremely excited to work through each level, as each page was colorful and new.  Rotating between the core foundational skills there is never a moment that the child feels overwhelmed or bored.  Each exercise may take the child anywhere from five to ten minutes depending on coloring or attention to detail.  The most thrilling part of completing each page is making sure to add a sticker to the appropriate area on the map.  Levels one through eight progressively get more challenging, so some additional adult supervision may be required.  This is a great workbook for homeschoolers to add into their summer routine, as it is simple and easy to take with when traveling or in the car.  Teacher supervision is minimal, and if the child is reading independently then each lesson would be great for refining their reading skills.  We were able to complete one level in about thirty minutes, yet it depends on the motivation of the child. 

My child really enjoyed using this workbook and the stickers provided a great motivation to keep the momentum going.  She really liked tracking her progress on the map to see how far she made it and how much more she had to go.  Working on a few pages for fifteen minutes two to three days a week made for a delightful time spent together without it feeling as if we had this big task to complete.  I highly recommend incorporating the brain quest series workbooks into any child’s summer routine.

Keeping a child’s mind sharp over the summer is extremely beneficial with starting them off right come the following school year.  Summer learning should never feel tedious or stressful, but should feel carefree with a lot of fun moments added in.  Summer Brain Quest does a fantastic job in making learning time feel as if we were just playing a game, yet really the mind is being sharpened.

-Product review by Pam Havens, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July, 2018