Keep Kids Busy During the Summer with Brain Chase

By Shannon Gurnee
In Kids Review
March 20, 2015

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I remember how much I loved summer as a kid! I could sleep in, had no homework and could pretty much just chill out. I also remember feeling somewhat bored sometimes. I mean there are only so many games you can play and movies you can watch, right? Thanks to The Motherhood, I recently learned about Brain Chase, which will be a great tool for our six kids this summer! 

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What is Brain Chase?

Have you heard of Brain Chase before? If not, let me tell you a little about it. Brain Chase is a 5-week online summer learning challenge for 2nd through 8th graders. Brain Chase is a massive global treasure hunt powered by reading, writing and math and is the perfect learning adventure to prevent summer brain drain! This motivational tool is great for getting kids to do online academic work during the summer and includes a personalized learning platform. Brain Chase includes a hunt for a golden mechanical treasure, as well as a $10,000 scholarship and trophy!

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Why Brain Chase?

Did you know that kids lose more ground academically over the summer than one might expect, according to research? A 2011 RAND study found that by the end of summer, students perform, on average, one to two months behind where they left off in the spring. 94% of parents agree that Brain Chase helped their children stay sharp over the summer (based on a survey of families who participated in the 2014 challenge).

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In addition to returning to school confident and fresh in September, kid adventurers get:

  • 5 weeks of structured challenges on external reading and math websites
  • Weekly writing exercises with feedback from credentialed teachers
  • Weekly progress reports emailed to parents
  • Exclusive access to an original animated adventure series loaded with hidden puzzles and clues
  • 3 adventure tools mailed to your home to help solve special bonus challenges
  • Participation in a massive global treasure hunt for a golden trophy containing the key to a safe deposit box holding $10,000

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How Does Brain Chase Work?

  1. Start the Chase – On Monday, June 22nd, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. EST, Brain Chase: The Sunstone of Cortés begins. Adventurers log in to watch the first animated webisode and meet Mae Merriweather, the star of the show. Then they dive into their first week of learning challenges. A proprietary (patent pending) learning management system – the “Dashboard” – tracks each student’s progress as they journey through the 5-week challenge.
  2. Unlock the Adventure – Each week, the adventurers have four tasks: read for 15 minutes per day, write one journal entry, earn 10,000 points on Khan Academy, and do one bonus challenge. When they’re done, they unlock the next webisode, which contains hidden pictures, numbers, and riddles to help them guess the treasure’s location.
  3. Follow the Story – Mae Merriweather and her friends from the Grayson Academy of Antiquities are hot on the trail of the mysterious Sunstone of Cortés. To find it, they travel to the Himalayas, dive off the coast of Greece, and solve riddles. But there is more to the quest – and treasure – than they realize.
  4. Find the Buried Treasure – The hunt for the Sunstone isn’t just fiction – there is a real golden Sunstone of Cortés and $10,000 buried somewhere on Earth. Every 24 hours, adventurers can log in to enter their guess of the treasure’s location. The first adventurer to guess the location within a two-mile radius travels with his/her family to the treasure site to claim the gold.
  5. See more about how Brain Challenge works HERE.

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A Little More About the 2015 Challenge 

The 2015 Brain Chase Challenge is to find the Sunstone of Cortés, a mysterious calendar stolen from the Aztec empire by Hernan Cortés in the 1500s. Kids join Mae Merriweather, her brother Max, athletic Sean Drake, and former nemesis Savannah Bryce to find the fictional Sunstone of Cortés… and the real one! Check out the video HERE.

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Where Did Brain Chase Originate?

Founders (and husband and wife team) Allan and Heather Staker were discussing how to keep their five kids sharp throughout the summer. They knew the trick would be creating academic challenges that kids would find irresistible. That’s when Allan recalled a book about a hidden treasure he had read in second grade, Masquerade, by Kit Williams. The discussion and memory sparked the idea of Brain Chase.

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Questions About Brain Chase

What platforms will kids be able to use with Brain Chase? Brain Chase will work on the major PC browsers, as well as iPads. This summer, it will not yet be available for mobile phones, but it’s hard to do much writing and math on a mobile phone anyways.

How are the kids “graded?” Can they work ahead or behind their grade based on learning needs? Students can do anything from early math and basic phonics to advanced Calculus and Shakespeare! They are measured based on effort (e.g. energy points on Khan Academy, active reading time on the reading platforms), not based on accomplishment. 

What if our family is traveling during the summer or my child misses a day? Parents have the opportunity to share their summer travel plans with Brain Chase so packages can be sent to where the kids are going to be. They get three different adventure packages in the mail. This is a purely flexible program. You should budget about five hours of work each week. If your child falls behind, it’s super easy to catch up! If your child misses a day, he/she can catch up at the end of the week, or even the following week. The only rule is that they can’t jump forward to a new week before that week begins, because we don’t want anyone to review clues early. 

Will the kids be interacting with other kids online? Out of safety for students, they cannot interact with other students directly online through the platform. But we do have an active Facebook page that became a fun destination last summer for families to interact with others and discuss each week’s clues.

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If a family has two or more students participating in Brain Chase, do they work together or will they have their own dashboard? Siblings will each have their own dashboard, but families (and friends) are encouraged to work together on the treasure hunt. To clarify, though, siblings don’t work together on the academic challenges – they all work at their personal level that’s right for them, depending on where they are with reading, writing and math. Sometimes families worked together on the bonus challenges, but the main area of collaboration was in trying to figure out the clues to the treasure.

How often can we guess the location of the treasure? Kids get to guess the treasure’s location once every 24 hours. Once they drop a pin on the virtual map, a time counts down 24 hours until they can guess again. If they don’t guess within that 24-hour period, they lose their turn for that day, but they can guess again the next day.

SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS ON THE MOMMY-FILES – Brain Chase would like to offer you 15% off your total purchase price. Simply use the code MOMMYFILES15 at checkout.

Who in your family would use Brain Chase?
Will you join Brain Chase this summer?

 This is a sponsored post made possible by The Motherhood. All opinions are mine.

About Has 2129 Posts

Shannon Gurnee is the author of Redhead Mom formerly "The Mommy-Files", a national blog with a loyal following. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development with a Minor in Business Management. Shannon and her husband, Frank, have a large family with 6 awesome kids and love living on the Central Coast near San Luis Obispo, California, as well as traveling around the world. A full-time Social Media and Professional Blogger, Shannon also serves as a National Brand Ambassador for many well-known companies. Her blog focuses on motherhood, family fun activities, traveling, fashion, beauty, technology, wedding ideas and recipes while providing professional opinions on products, performances, restaurants, and a variety of businesses.

22 Responses to “Keep Kids Busy During the Summer with Brain Chase”

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    This sounds awesome. I think both of my boys would love this.

  2. I heard about Brain Chase! It seems like the perfect adventure to keep your brain active all summer. We could have used this when I was a kid, instead of those huge, long reading lists.

  3. Natalie Z says:

    How fun! My kids are addicted to minecraft so I enrolled them in a game design class at the engineering school. This would be a perfect addition for more educational fun!

  4. Stacie says:

    This sounds great! I think kids need time in the summer to decompress, but it’s nice to have something like this to keep them from losing ground while they unwind.

  5. Catherine S says:

    This sounds really great. I need to look into this for my 6 year old niece.

  6. Jeanine says:

    This sound really great. I’m pretty sure all my kiddos would enjoy this! I hadn’t heard of this before now, very cool!

  7. Liz Mays says:

    This sounds like such a cool program. The scholarship is an amazing reward too!

  8. Lisa Bristol says:

    I think my daughter would like Brain Chase. I will have to show her so she can try it.

  9. Marcie W. says:

    Brain Chase looks like a great way to keep kids thinking and learning during summer vacation. It is super cool that packages can be sent anywhere so travel plans are not an issue.

  10. What a great program to keep kids busy and learning during the summer. The scholarship is an awesome reward too!

  11. Penelope says:

    The lazy days of summer are a lot of fun, but I can totally see why kids lose so much learning during the months off. It can be challenging as a parent to know how to engage them and what is appropriate. It’s wonderful that there are such unique and valuable learning programs like this available.

  12. Sounds just as much fun as it is educational! I would love to try the challenge myself!

  13. I have a 7 year old that this would be great for him to use. Keep him entertained during the summer break.

  14. Ora Lee Gurr says:

    Brain Chase looks like a great way to keep kids learning while having fun during the summer break. Since they share what they learn with the family and their friends, the benefits are good for everyone.

  15. Donna says:

    I love the whole concept of Brain Chase. I always keep my son reading and playing educational games during summer breaks because I want him to start back to school each year ahead, not behind. I’ll check it out for our son!

  16. Christie says:

    This sounds like a really engaging program! I’m definitely looking for great programs for my son this summer!

  17. Kiddo needs this. We have been looking into math , reading and writing programs for her this summer. Her mom kept her out of school quite a bit. Shes in the 4th grade and every school year she was out 60 days or more. This school year, 100. Which is why we have custody of her now. Her teachers here know her situation and have been very helpful. But she needs some help. I will show this to my husband.

  18. Cinny says:

    That sounds awesome! I had no clue they lose that much ground over the summer. It’d be a fun way to learn.

  19. Amanda says:

    This sounds awesome! My kids would go crazy over this. Actually we’d all have fun playing this together!

  20. Angela says:

    I love programs that encourage children in education! Sounds like this is a perfect way to encourage summer without taking their summer away, I love that!

  21. This is a great way to keep kids challenged during the summer. My kids were always slow to get back into the swing of things after a long summer break.

  22. Debbie Denny says:

    That sounds really cool. My grandkids would love this.

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