Making Math Fun! | Sidestep the Summer Slide
By: Rachel Lynette of Minds in Bloom
Many parents resort to workbooks to keep math skills current over the summer, but you don’t have to! There are many more appealing options. Here are some ideas.
- Create word problems that your child can solve mentally throughout your day. For example, if you are at the zoo and the sign says that the elephant eats 150 pounds of food a day, ask your child how many pounds it would eat in a week. You may also want to try these Mental Math Cards.
- Write math problems outside in chalk for your child to solve. Use big numbers and bright colors.
- Remember that sorting and patterning is math for younger children. Activities such as making a patterned Froot Loop necklace or sorting shells found on the beach by size or type are the foundations for many math concepts.
- Play games that involve math such as Yahtzee, and darts (with soft tips, of course). Games such as Tangoes and Blokus are great for improving spatial skills and the game SET is great pattern recognition for all ages (my daughter was beating me regularly by age 9).
- Lemonade stands are a popular business for kids and a great opportunity for math. How many cups will one pitcher make? How much money would that be if all the cups sold? Would it be better to sell small cups for a quarter or larger ones for .fifty cents? For older kids consider working in the cost of the raw ingredients and cups.
- On car trips, try playing Points. It is very simple. Just create point values for things you might see along the way. You can write them down, but in our family, they are committed to memory. For example, A VW bug is worth 5 points and an old style bug is worth 30. A person wearing a hat is worth 7 points and a person on a bike is worth 3. Players simply call out the items as they see them and add up their points as they go.
- Use math in your daily life as much as possible. Among other things, you can have your child count money, measure ingredients when cooking, and tell the time.
The trick with summer math practice is to make it fun. If your kids are having fun, they won’t even realize they are learning!
Rachel Lynette has written over 100 nonfiction books for children. She is also the author Minds in Bloom, a blog focused on facilitating creative and critical thinking, and a top seller on Teachers Pay Teachers, where you can find more great teaching resources.
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