When kids think of summer time, possibly the last thing that comes to mind is doing homework. School is out, and they are mentally done with anything educational for the next two months—or so they think. As parents invested in our children’s academic success, here is where our job gets tricky. How do we continue their learning over the summer without them even knowing?
Sure, you can plan trips to national parks to learn about history and nature, visits to museums to experiment with science and technology, and encourage summer reading through challenges and favorite reading lists. When it comes to the subject of math, though, how can you disguise this in a fun way?
Chances are that your kids will be more drawn to pools and popsicles this summer than sitting down doing math problems, unless they love math as much as we do! To help with this, here are some ways you can sneak in math learning this summer without having to force your kids to begrudgingly open up those math books.
Shopping and Estimating
Shopping trips don’t stop just because it’s the summer, so take advantage of those trips to the grocery store to ramp up your child’s estimating skills. As you fill your cart, have your kids either round up or round down and end with an estimation of the total. If you have more than one child, you can even make this into a contest to see who gets closest to the actual final total. As the cashier rings up each item, have your children tally up the totals in their minds to double-check their first estimation.
Cooking & Fractions
Recipes are a fantastic way to work with your kids on fractions. Double a recipe to see if they can figure out how to increase each fraction amount. For example, if the recipe calls for ¾ cup of flour, ask them how much flour you need to use if you are doubling it. This would also work if you are cutting a recipe in half, so try both ways! If it is too difficult for them to do in their heads, have them write it out or do a hands-on visual test using the measuring cups to determine just how much is needed.
Restaurants & Percentages
While eating on the patio of your favorite restaurant or grabbing some ice cream on these hot summer days, have your children help figure out the tax that will be charged and the tip you should be leaving. Give them the percentage and the bill total, and have them calculate it in their head or by writing it out. No calculators allowed!
Races & Time/Distance
If you gather a group of kids outside, a race is sure to ensue. On a beautiful summer day, there are countless activities to enjoy the outdoors, but races can prove to be an opportunity for some math learning. Set up a sprint relay, or any other type of fun race, and have your children measure out the distance. Use inches, feet, yards, and then have them calculate them into each other. If it’s a ten yard dash, how many feet is that? How many inches? Then, once the running begins, have them time each other and work on their time calculations, just like the distance measurements, or determine the average speed of each contestant.
Games & Apps
There will be those summer days when it is just too hot or too rainy to do anything outside. When that happens, kids tend to gravitate towards electronics. Take advantage of that and incorporate math learning programs, such as LearnBop, as a substitution for the games and apps. Connecting technology with educational programs is a perfect way to give your kids their screen time while maximizing their learning this summer.
No matter what your plans may be for the summer, there are always subtle yet effective ways to incorporate math learning into your activities. Set goals for your child, stay in tune with their progress, and have fun coming up with creative ways to get them practicing their math skills all summer long!