Math Fun All Summer Long
Slowing the summer slide
As summer approaches, teachers and students are counting down to a much-needed break. Although school is ending, that does not mean learning has to follow suit. One struggle for teachers at the beginning of a school year is battling the summer slide. This term references a student’s lack of content retention over the summer. Luckily for us, math is everywhere and can easily be incorporated into everyday life, even during the summer!
One struggle for teachers at the beginning of a school year is battling the summer slide.
The Basics: These are simple, math-based activities.
- Flash Cards: This is a quick and easy way to maintain basic math facts. Have your child provide the answer to the flash card within 5 seconds and make two piles, right and wrong. They continue answering the questions in the wrong pile until all the cards end up in the pile of correct answers. A techie alternative is aplusmath.com. This website has flash cards, printable worksheets, and games.
- Purchase a grade-level appropriate workbook for the local teacher store. Have your child use the workbook for 20 minutes a day. As an added bonus, the answers are in the back of the book! If this is out of your comfort zone, higher a tutor or a neighborhood high school student to work with your child.
- Find one of the many math practice websites. Many times, teachers and/or schools will have websites listed on their main page for students to use as a resource. If they are using a particular site within their math class this year, ask the teacher if they can have access throughout the summer.
Strategy games: Many games involve critical thinking skills or strategy play. Any one of these games would be a great addition to Pizza and Game Night.
- Checkers, Chinese checkers, or chess
- Connect Four
- Jenga: as an added feature, you can write math facts or word problems on the bottom of the Jenga pieces, and answering correctly can earn the student extra points.
Math is everywhere and can easily be incorporated into everyday lift. If you are looking for activities based on content area, check out the suggestions below.
- Cooking: Students can have a hands-on approach to working with fractions, and moms can have dinner ready when they get home from work! It’s a win-win!
- Hanging pictures: Measuring the distance between pictures using a ruler or tape measure works with fractions and measurement skills.
- Cleaning their rooms: Have children estimate how long it will take them to clean their room (to your satisfaction, of course) and have family races. The winner is the one who comes closest to their estimation and they get to pick the Friday night movie. A little sibling rivalry is always a great motivator.
- Help plan a vacation: Learning how to budget, calculate gas mileage, and read a map all involve measurement.
- Tangrams: These strategic puzzles help build spatial relationships. If your child has not played with them before, here is a website to help them practice. http://www.abcya.com/tangrams.htm. If they like them, buy them a set of their own. It will help develop their spatial relationships if they are physically moving the pieces versus doing the puzzles online.
- Puzzles: Use real puzzles where they have to manipulate the pieces themselves.
- Staining the fence or painting a room: These chores involve measuring surface area and determining how many gallons of paint/stain are needed.
Number Sense/Money Management:
- Grocery Shopping: Show students how to compare unit rates to determine the best price of an item. You can also give them a budget and make them stick to it while shopping.
- Run a Lemonade Stand: Students will learn how to determine profit, the art of splitting profits based on participation, multiplication skills, and practice making change.
- Neighborhood chores such as mowing lawns or pet sitting: This will help them budget their time and decide how much they should charge as an hourly rate.
Out and About in the Community:
- Summer Math Camps: Many camps involve math skills and fun. Often times your child doesn’t realize they are practicing math. For example, sign them up for camps involving robotics, Rubix’s cubes, Legos, or cooking.
- Participate: Get in on community service projects such as cleaning up trash on the side of the road (estimate the number of bags you will fill), making sandwiches for the homeless (cost of materials and how many sandwiches can be made), or raising money for a charity walk/run (money management and basic math skills).
Regardless of your child’s math ability, you can find fun ways to incorporate math into their summer routine. As an added bonus, you are creating more family time!