Just because school’s out for summer doesn’t mean learning needs to stop. It’s important to continually provide cognitive stimulation to children early on in crucial years of brain development. Having three months off of traditional classroom education poses an opportunity to dedicate a period of time learning in a digital setting. With advanced mobile graphics now standard thanks to innovation like Snapdragon processing units that produce colorful, clear and smoothly executed visuals and sounds, as well as the rise of mobile everything, educational games, also called “serious games,” are an ever-growing market. There are a ton of options out there for your children to activate their fresh minds during this long stretch of time off from school. Here are five educational games that come highly recommended as a go-to summer activity.

1. SimCityEDU

If you’ve got a future architect, environmentalist, or city planner at hand, SimCityEDU is the perfect game that integrates hands-on creation with educational flair. Players can build their own cities in a virtually simulated environment while at the same time learn the impact their actions have on the environment (e.g., pollution levels). The game keeps young creative minds engaged, develops applicable skills for the real world and simultaneously creates awareness.  

2. PBS Kids

Famous for being an educational platform that was a pioneer in taking learning outside the classroom and placing it in a digital entertainment environment, PBS Kids has a plethora of games to keep the kids actively learning all summer long. The organization’s mobile apps are filled with highly visual and easy-to-use interfaces where children of all ages can learn about any subject from science to dinosaurs to painting, in an extremely playful manner.  

3. Leapfrog Cooking Recipes

Leapfrog Cooking Recipes is a fun, serious game completely made for summer. With the kids playing outdoors for hours on end, hunger levels spike and kitchen time is bound to increase. This is a great game for introducing potential chefs to the art of cooking. It prepares them to help out in the actual kitchen by teaching kitchen safety via virtual cooking and as a bonus, the application indirectly incorporates math too. 

4. The Social Express

Developing social skills at a young age is integral for success later on. The Social Express is a game that guides children to learn basic social and communication practices for active participation in society. It’s especially good for children who may hold a slightly shyer personality or have trouble getting along with their peers. By leveraging a digital practice ground, kids can absorb in their own way, on their own time, in a safe place, and eventually bring those skills to the playground.

5. Garage Band

Due to a more lenient schedule, summertime encourages freedom and an incomparable freeing of the mind inspired by the change of routine and surroundings. Children who want to exercise the right side of the brain and express themselves through music should look no further than Garage Band. The app lets users create the soundtrack lying within their creative souls and provides a space for budding young performers to blossom.

With it being 2015 and all, it’s safe to say, kids use mobile devices all the time, often better than parents, and the trend is only growing as life becomes increasingly mobilized. Summer is a time where children will likely be on iPads, smartphones and laptops the most. Fill up a suddenly freed-up calendar with educational games to better the future of our world. The aforementioned games are surefire hits with both kids and parents alike.