Keep your child’s mind sharp with these summertime activities
Summer’s here and Mathletes everywhere are ready for some fun in the sun! However, did you know that over summer break, many students lose 2 to 2.5 months worth of math skills learned during the school year?* Stop the dreaded summer slide in its tracks with these ideas that will have your child “mathing” all season long.
Set up a good old-fashioned lemonade stand. From production to sales to tallying up the day’s profits, this all-American summer staple is a great way to teach kids about ratio and proportion, money, and basic business concepts. First, it takes a lot of lemonade to run a lemonade stand. Take your favorite lemonade recipe and double, triple, even quadruple it before setting up your stand, and use this activity to teach your child about ratio and proportion. Then, help your child make change for customers as the day progresses. (Depending on your child’s age and ability level, it may be a good idea to talk about the values of bills and coins and how they relate to each other beforehand.) Finally, after closing up, calculate how much you made in profit. Talk about how much lemonade was left over (if any) and use this number to predict future demand. Should you make more, less, or the same amount of lemonade the next time you set up a stand?
Make a sand castle. This activity is especially good for younger children learning about shapes. With your trusty shovel, bucket, and assorted sand toys, take a trip with your child down to a nearby beach or sandbox and build an epic sand castle using a variety of shapes. As you build, talk about the properties of the shapes you’re using (How many sides? Are they equal/ “the same”?).
Are we there yet? On your next vacation, keep an arsenal of simple math games in your car to keep your kids amused en route (Sudoku, anyone?). Or, start a rousing game of I-Spy or 20 Questions using math-related items or clues.
Also, incorporating actual data from your trip, ask questions like, “If the car is going 60 mph and our destination is 100 miles away, about how long will it take us to get there?” (Round numbers up or down if need be to make them easier for kids to work with.) Then, once you figure out the remaining time in hours, try counting it in minutes and seconds.
Look into summer math programs. Whether kids need to catch up with grade-level concepts, brush up on math skills covered during the past year, or preview the material to be covered in the months ahead, summer is an ideal time for kids to fortify their math skills without the usual pressures they encounter during the academic year – and perhaps make a few new friends along the way. Give us a call or stop by the center to learn more about our summer programs. We specialize in teaching for understanding and promoting positive attitudes about math, which is the best way to help your child fight off the summer slide.
Find math in everyday events. For instance, keep track of how long the days are as the summer progresses. Together, graph your results over time. At the end of the summer, note the pattern you observe in the graph and discuss the results. Explain to your child why the days get longer as you approach the summer solstice (June 21), shorter thereafter, and longer once again after the winter solstice (December 21).
These fabulous tips were given to us by Mathnasium – The Math Learning Center in Flower Mound.