Summer Math Activities for Children can Help Slow the Summer Slide

Summer Math

Summer Math Activities for Children can Help Slow the Summer Slide

Summer is a time for children to relax and have fun. However, as parents, I’m sure you are aware that all play and no learning can lead to the dreaded summer slide. Kids can lose some of their academic knowledge by fall. To combat that we’ve created a list of ways to help keep children engaged in math learning, while still having fun. A way to build your own summer education program at home.


Summer Math: Fun Through Science

DIY Science Experiments: why science? Hands-on science experiments can enhance problem solving and critical thinking skills – the same skill used in mathematics learning. Science experiments are a DIY way to get summer enrichment for you kids at home as they often include measuring and math as some of the steps in creating the experiment. Many simple experiments can be done at home using household items. An online search yields many at-home science experiments. Just be sure you are taking them from a legitimate site, and that you are not creating an experiment with unintended consequences. Good Housekeeping and Arm and Hammer are two sites with great DIY-science experiment content from a terrarium garden to homemade slime and many more. And remember safety first. A good site will recommend the right safety procedures like safety glasses, gloves and of course a lab coat or apron and easily washable clothes!

If your child finds these fun, you can also sneak in some writing skills practice, by suggesting they document their observations and findings in a science journal. Jotting down their questions, observations, hypotheses (what they think will happen), and documenting the experiment and the results, are all part of the scientific method. Have them also note any tricky things that came up, so that if an experiment fails, they know where to look for the problem. If an experiment didn’t work, your child can also write a hypothesis why, and then record the results of a second try.  I once tried to bake bread, but the dough didn’t rise. I narrowed the issue down to either the temperature of the water or that my yeast was expired. New yeast and more careful temps equaled successful bread…which leads us to our next summer math at home enrichment program.


Summer Math in the Kitchen or Workshop:

Cooking and baking are two related tasks that mix math and science with problem solving, while delivering yummy results. Parents can involve children in measuring ingredients, adjusting recipe quantities, and calculating cooking times. For a bonus reading and writing practice, children can help read the recipes, and can also write their own recipes or keep a food diary to reinforce writing practice. Both types of kitchen projects, cooking and baking, provide practical opportunities to reinforce math, while also teaching a practical life skill too! And don’t forget, a parent cooking up another type of project in the garden, workshop or the garage can invite a child to join you measuring and preparing things in those other realms too. These projects offer yet another opportunity to involve kids in math.


Summer Camp Math Classes for Kids Can Help Slow the Summer Slide

See below for more DIY Math learning opportunities below. But for a more consistent teacher-led summer educational program, and a more structured way to keep your child’s math learning high, look to places like an ALOHA Center near you. ALOHA Mind Math’s summer camp classes for elementary school children  are geared to meet your child’s needs at their age group and level of learning. Our teachers adapt to the high achiever, and to the student who is struggling with math. We also have reading and writing programs as well.


Summer Math: the Arts and Culture Route

Did you know that Many libraries have free passes to local attractions, museums, and public gardens in your area? Some libraries also offer math-related activities, so be sure to check that option as well.  Find a museum or attraction that matches your child’s interests. If your older child likes biology take them to the zoo (or even to a farm’s petting zoo). Zoos often have educational programs, and the signage is also educational. If you also have a younger child, you can count the animals with them, or have them count the number of spots on the giraffe or the stripes on a tiger or zebra.

Or you could take a child who likes science to a public garden. See how many flower and tree species you can find. Public gardens also often have one-hour workshops and programs for kids too. Map reading also is a skill related to math relating to measurement and spatial skills. Be sure to get a map or a brochure at the attraction and help your child learn to navigate the location, which also builds confidence. If your child is into cars or history, art or space – see what other museums might fit their interests.


Free Math Games Online to Help Fill the Summertime Slump

We know that during summertime, screen use goes up. And sometimes kids become couch potatoes glued to that screen. What if you made a bargain and set a certain time each day that screen time has to be on a math games website or app. We’ve selected a few free sites to help you get started. While not the same as hands on learning with a parent or a teacher at a summer camp, these sites definitely combine fun with learning.

Be aware – when download apps to your tablet or phone; please test theme out before you let your kids have free rein. You’ll need to be sure there are no in-app purchases luring kids to spend money. And be especially careful of sites that have ads. While many have filters in place to prevent the wrong ads being shown, others don’t. No parent wants their child to be exposed to the wrong ads. Many websites use cookies that follow the browser user – so ads that follow you around for perfume or cigars could show up on your child’s math app. The two sites mentioned above don’t have ads.


Summer Math Activities Wrap Up:

For one final Math-related entertainment option check out our ALOHA blog post on Math Movies and TV Shows I’ll also remind you that summer math learning happens every day at home. When you find yourself checking the time, tallying a tip, reviewing a receipt, grocery shopping and comparing prices, and using your phone’s calculator, point it out to your child. Whether gaging how much of something or how large something is, with a measuring cup or a measuring tape, invite your children to help. Summer learning loss is one thing, but seeing math in action in daily life helps make mathematics feel useful children.

Written by Cathy Larkin, a freelance writer and social media coordinator, who has been a part of the ALOHA Mind Math team for several years.

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