Over the summer months, students can lose up to 3 months of maths learning; more than any other academic skill. This includes reading, a skill which kids are more likely to naturally nourish over summer than maths. As such, paying particular attention to activities that help to improve maths skills over the summer is a good idea, and will help your child return to school with a stronger foundation than the other students. Here are some activities for you to consider:
Read Maths Stories
How about ticking two boxes at the same time by reading mathematics stories – thus improving both maths and reading skills simultaneously. Head on down to the local library or have a quick search online and you’ll find loads of kid’s books that are dedicated to improve both literacy and numeracy, all while keeping things fun and entertaining. With advanced ink technologies that are available you can print the activities and books out for ease of use.
Play Maths Games
Kids love to play, right? So why not let them indulge their gaming desires while teaching them math at the same time? There are loads of board games, video games, and others, all designed for various ages that will help keep your child’s maths skill up to scratch over summer. Alternatively, you could play a card game. Some of these focus on improving maths skills – specifically addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication – in a fun way.
Watch Videos Online
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you’ll be well aware that the online world houses videos on just about every topic imaginable. Of course, YouTube is the real powerhouse here, so head on over to and look for videos to help your children learn in some interesting ways to keep their attention. Quick 5 or 10 minute videos each day, such as multiplication raps or maths doodles, can quickly help your child keep on top of their maths skill over the summer.
Summer Program – Online or Offline
If you really want to get serious then why not enrol your child in a more official program. This can go one of two ways – either an online program that they can work through as their leisure, or an offline program that essentially mimics going to class and learning with other kids. Of course, your kids might not be particularly fond of the latter (what sort of child wants to spend any of their summer in class?) so it might be a good idea to find an appropriate online program instead. You can find those that are specifically designed to keep a child’s maths skills up to par through the summer, and which can be dropped in and out of whenever time allows. Just 20 or 30 minutes every day or two should to the trick.
Visit a Museum
In particular, look for any local science museums to where you live. These commonly have interactive displays that will help to activate your child’s numeracy side, and are fun and entertaining at the same time. In addition, check to see if they are running any special exhibits of programs as well.
Plan a Trip
If you are going on holiday or taking any type of short trip, try to get your kids involved in the process of planning it. For example, get them involved in finding out how long the distance is to the destination and how long it will take you to get there. Also, let them help you budget for the trip, including travel costs, accommodation expenses, and other miscellaneous costs like food and drink. When it comes to taking the trip, use the time to play travel games when taking a long car journey, plane trips, or simply during extended periods of downtime at airports. Pick out a maths travel game and get your child involved – they’ll probably be happy for the entertainment during long journeys.
Set up a Business
How about unleashing your child’s entrepreneurial side? One great idea is to put up a lemonade stand or orange juice stand outside of your house. In fact, any easily made food or drink product would do – cakes, pretzels, sandwiches, and so on, are all great ideas. Get the stand set up outside of your house and help your child learn about managing their money to buy ingredients, calculate the right mixtures of ingredients, calculate their net income and profits, and so on. Not only is this a great way for any child to activate their mind, it will also help them learn the value of money and of setting up something of their own. Let them keep any profits they make, and they may well get bitten by the business bug.
Sports are full of statistics. Soccer, hockey football, baseball – watch them with your kids and see if you can work out some of the stats along with the experts. Grab a pen and paper and see what you come up with.
So, as you can see, there are all sorts of different things that you can do with your child to help improve their maths skills through the summer. So don’t let them take a step back and have to re-learn 3 months worth of teachings: instead, get actively involved and you’ll see they return to school a step ahead of their classmates.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Tom Brown