In the long period between grades, time spent without math practice leaves kids without the intellectual engagement that they need. Summer math loss is very real, and has a measured negative effect on students. Students without enriching activities to keep their minds occupied during the break from school run the risk of falling behind.
While we don’t want to do away with summer vacation, there are plenty of ways that parents can help their students combat the potential loss of knowledge and learned skills. Here are some ideas for keeping learning fresh so that your child will begin school in the fall ready to jump right back into action:
Get Into The Routine
Your children probably have some household chores, at least taking out the garbage or washing the dishes once or twice a week. As a regular obligation, adding math reviews to the weekly schedule will keep them sharp for the duration of the summer. If you’re not a math educator yourself, there are plenty of resources online to keep your kids in good practice.
Summer Learning Day
The Summer Learning Association holds an annual day dedicated to education in the midst of summer vacation, with events and resources for families to take part. Check and see if there are any events being held in your community, and if there aren’t, throw one yourself! If you’re not up for hosting a town-wide festivity, you can make it a household celebration with math games and activities for you and your kids.
Get Them Involved
Invite your kids to take part in a household decision that use math, of which there are many. Making a grocery budget, comparing prices on major purchases, or even repainting a room will offer opportunities for your kids to use math in a real-life applications. This way, they’re not just refreshing their skills, they’re learning another way that math learned in the classroom applies to real life.
The Stock Market Game
Long a classroom tradition, the stock market game is a math-based activity that can be played year-round. While in the past students would check the daily newspaper for the latest price fluctuations of their chosen stocks, now plenty of online resources exist for your kids to play along. This is an activity that can last all summer, making a daily math routine into a fun and engaging competition. It also doubles as a lesson in how the larger finance world works.
Especially with younger children, you can sneak math into daily activities in ways they might not even notice. Developed as a mobile app, Bedtime Math seeks to curb summer math loss by subtly integrating math into storytime. Simple addition and subtraction problems added to stories you read from the app or come up with on your own will make bedtime stories interactive for kids and have proven to be an engaging way to increase math skills, especially in the summer months.
Math Board Games
Some of these games might even be in your house right now. Games that center around math in an interesting and fun way will have your kids maintaining their mathematical skills and bringing the family closer together at the same time. Whether simple counting for younger learners, or more involved operations functions for older ones, there are a multitude of games for any learner in your family to enjoy as they stay sharp. Some healthy competition will keep the lessons exciting and the numbers and analytical aspects will help hold on to math learning throughout the summer.
Starting a Business
It’s a childhood tradition, and starting a small business like a front-yard lemonade stand is a fun integration of math into a time-honored summertime activity. Setting prices, gathering inventory, making change and counting profits will all have your kids using math and building entrepreneurial skills for the future. Not only that, they’ll get a bonus lesson in people skills while they make sales. All the while, improving their confidence and experience and having a great time.
Building Number Sense
One thing that you can always do that takes on extra relevance during the summer is having your kids take notice of all the numbers that make up their daily lives. For younger children, assign them a number and have them see how many times they can find it around the house. For older children, encourage them to take notice not just of the numbers that pop up in their usual day, but how they are relevant. For example, what’s more important, the number of cars they pass on a walk to the store, or the amount of change they receive after making their purchase? This will serve as a pertinent reminder that math is always all around us, and not just something that happens in school.
Growing Skills with Math
Planting a garden is a great summer activity, one that can integrate math as well. Plotting out a patch of land, anticipating angles of sunlight, and planning the layout of your garden will all use math skills that your kids have learned. Keeping a schedule and planning out future plantings provides an additional learning opportunity in both horticulture and mathematics. Maintaining the garden throughout the summer months will serve as a constant lesson in the many ways math is a part of our lives, not something to be picked up and dropped as school years come and go.