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6 Fun Summer Math Activities

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Summer is upon us and students across the country are getting a well-deserved break from the rigors of academia. The pleasant weather and time off make summer a favorite season for children and adults alike, but learning doesn’t have to stop just because school is on summer break. The dreaded “summer slide” in learning impacts all students, with low-income students feeling the biggest hit – losing 2.5 to 3 months of grade level equivalency over the summer months. The impact of summer learning decay is felt largely in mathematics, setting some students up for failure once they go back to school in September. Aside from alternatives to traditional summer learning programs (i.e., online math programs), students can continue to think mathematically over summer break by turning everyday activities into math-learning opportunities.

6 Fun Summer Math Activities

stopwatch, bike, Imagine Math

Summer is upon us and students across the country are getting a well-deserved break from the rigors of academia. The pleasant weather and time off make summer a favorite season for children and adults alike, however learning doesn’t have to stop just because school is on summer break.

The dreaded “summer slide” in learning impacts all students, with some students losing as much as two to three months of grade level equivalency over the summer months.

The impact of summer learning decay is felt largely in mathematics, setting some students back in their math learning come September.

Incorporating fun math-related activities into your summer schedule can help offset the impact of time away from the classroom.

Aside from alternatives to traditional summer learning programs (i.e., online math programs), students can continue to think mathematically over summer break by turning everyday real-world experiences into math-learning opportunities. 

Record Breakers

record breakers math

We agree children should be playing outside during the summer, and the good news is they can learn math while doing so. Challenge your kids to practice their concepts of time by using a stopwatch to time themselves while they fun around the house, bike up the street to a stop sign and back, or to see how long they can hold their breath under water. 

Students can exercise their brains as well as their muscles as they try to beat their best times at running, hiking, swimming, biking, etc.

Gardening by the Numbers

gardening by the numbers math

Gardening can be used as a curriculum tool that helps children understand how math is applicable in everyday life.

To plot out a garden, you must first measure the area and identify which herbs, vegetables, and/or flowers will be planted within the space. Because each item needs space and sunlight, any young gardener can use these factors to become a budding mathematician.

Start with a pencil and graph paper, measuring tape, and a journal.

Advanced math students can also calculate the volume of soil needed for a specific area or planter box by using geometry and algebra--which will also come in handy when calculating the amount of mix-in fertilizer for each plant. You can even have children calculate the cost for seeds, soil, fertilizer, etc. and compare these costs to purchasing the produce from a grocery store.

Keep the Change

keep the change math

Teaching kids how to save money is a useful way to foster math skills in the summer and throughout the rest of the year.

Start saving for your next family vacation by tossing spare change into a community piggy bank. Kids will stay interested in math by having them guess (estimate) how much money is in the “vacation fund” and then counting the change.

Children can earn money by doing extra chores around the house or for neighbors. Adding up their earnings, whether they are planning for a purchase or just want to see how much they can save can teach valuable math and life skills.

Road Tripping

road tripping math

“Are we there yet?”

Kids can help plan a family road trip by mapping out the route and routinely determining where they are on the map. You could even challenge your children to calculate how many miles from point to point along the route, or how much gas it costs to get to your destination based on miles per gallon.

Using road trips to incorporate math encourages young navigators to learn direction, map reading, calculations, word-problem skills, and how to read road signs--skills that will really pay off in the classroom. 

Mathletes

mathletes math

Sports can be a fun way to get the whole family involved in learning math. Tracking wins and losses or basic sports statistics is a great way to develop a child’s math skills. Kids can do this with teams they play on, local sports teams, or college and professional teams. You could even have your children factor the stats into a graph for more immediate visualization and even make predictions based on stats they've collected.

Looking for what professional sports to follow during the summer?

June features:

The National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) finals as well as regular season games for Major League Baseball (MLB), Major League Soccer (MLS), Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

July includes:

MLB, MLS, NWLS, and WNBA regular season games, the MLB all-star game, and the Tour de France.

During August:

Regular season MLB, NWSL, and MLS games continue, European soccer leagues start up, and there is also the US Open for Tennis or the PGA Championship for golf.

Additionally, the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup starts in June and the Pan American Games kick-off in July, great opportunities to follow Team USA! In other words, there is no shortage of sports all summer long to keep stats on for all sports fans!

Baking the Difference

baking the difference math

Culinary activities not only teach kids how to feed themselves but also provide mathematical skills they can use throughout their entire lives. In essence, each recipe is a mathematical algorithm that requires math knowledge on various units of measure, conversions, fractions, volume, and temperature.

You can find age-appropriate, kid-friendly recipes online. Consider making anything from pre-packaged pudding to homemade lasagna depending on your child's interest and abilities in the kitchen.

Baking is a science of its own and following a recipe exactly can be vital for a successful, edible final product. But what a mathematical win when you get to eat the delicious final product!

As you can see, math is everywhere. How will you include math in your summer fun?

Read More: Math Fact Fluency: Predicting Student Success in Mathematics

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