Avoid the summer slump: Toys that will teach your kids until school is back in session

MILWAUKEE -- It's summer, the kids are having fun -- but you want  to avoid the dreaded brain drain. Sherry Artemenko joins Real Milwaukee with some toys that will help keep your kids' reading and writing skills sharp.

Rory`s Story Cubes--Scooby Doo by The Creativity Hub, 6 yrs and up, $9.99
• Rory real person. 9 cubes with 6 sides of images, some obvious, concrete and some abstract,
• some kids go 3 dimensional, lightning , bird flying over
• Max for kids with special needs, licensed products, Scooby--Doo solve your own ,mysteries--favorite in 1st grade classroom
• Excellent vehicle for storytelling and then writing out your story with the visual prompts

Bring Your Own Book by Gamewright, 12 years and up, $14.99
• Great family game
• Everyone brings a book to game table
• Read a prompt card, look through their books for winning response
• 'Name of a Fast Food Restaurant' 'First thing you say when you get up in the morning.'
• reading comprehension, processing, association

Alex Toys Little Hands Big Artist Marker and Crayon Kits, 3 years and up, $14.50
• Drawing strengthens muscles for writing, makes kids more confident and fluent when they start their inventive spelling
• Kits have pictures to color in, trace lines, blank sheets
• own carrying case-portable

Alphabet Woods by SimplyFun, 5 years and up, $28
• Take a walk in Alphabet Woods, building trees with letters in alphabet order
• Can play a branch letter which links the trees but maintains alphabetical order
• Collect little animals after each letter you play

Smartscope by Ravensburger, 8 years and up, $44.95
• Collect specimens, put under the lens, add your device on top, take pictures
• Can`t help comparing before and after, 'pollen was woven with hairs on it.
• Get out a notebook and record your observations and descriptions

Better Builders Emotions by Guidecraft, 2 years and up, $39.99
• 30 pieces of interchangeable bodies, faces, hair, feet fit magnetically
• 6 faces express different emotions well-known to kids: happy, sad, angry, surprised, confused and scared
• sparks conversation about feelings, situations and behavior
• might use them to talk through a day at camp or playdate, then write a few lines about how it felt

Q`s Race to the Top by EQTainment, 3-12 years of age, $24.99
• these 2 products help build EQ Emotional IQ which we can build with kids, and is linked to future success for kids
• we can increase a child`s EQ by helping them name, identify, and regulate their emotions,

Janod Splash Adjustable Easel, 3 years and up, $89.99
• 3 year-old was finding the letters in her name w/ Splash Letters
• 5 year-old writing her name, drawing a house with a stove and broccoli.
• blackboard on back, roll of paper on top so several kids play at once