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Beat Summer Brain Drain with NYC STEM Expo and coding classes for kids

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There's no way around it, summertime in NYC brings heat, humidity, ubiquitous ice-cream trucks... and brain drain. Even the best students forget a good chunk of what they learned the previous year by the time they re-enter the classroom in September.

And now is no time to get complacent. Between the new, tougher Common Core standards for all grades and "The New York Times" reporting that the learning gap between girls and boys is growing even faster than the learning gap between rich and poor children, kids need all the help they can get.

But what boy or girl wants to spend their precious summer doing work sheets or drilling facts?

If they're going to keep learning throughout June, July and August, parents need to help make the process at least somewhat fun.

One way to do it is to encourage STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities that actually are fun. Kids may not believe it (school does an excellent job of convincing them otherwise), but there are plenty of them.

NYC families can get some ideas and maybe even pick up a new, lifelong passion on Saturday, May 17, 2014 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Harlem Armory on 40 West 143rd Street between Lenox Ave. and Fifth Ave. during the Annual Super Saturday STEM Expo. Check out hands-on activities and exhibits on topics ranging from solar power to the science of nutrition, as well as demonstrations on scientific and engineering principles in the real world.

Kids can also sign up to participate in a Math Competition, a Chess Tournament, and an Hour of Code for both beginning and advanced aspiring computer programmers.

The STEM Expo is FREE to attend, but if your child catches the coding bug and wants to pursue it in more depth over the summer, Mommy Poppins has a list of classes and camps to meet the needs of any gifted young programmer, and make parents feel that the summertime months aren't going to waste.

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What can you do with technology? Pretty much anything! How about turning a children's book into an enhanced ebook, with songs that play while you read the story? Get a FREE sample of "The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition," a middle grade fantasy novel about pancake trampolines and roller skating apple-pies, here.

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