Keep your child’s hard-earned learning from slipping down the “summer brain drain”. Here are five summer math tips to keep your child’s math skills sharp during the summer months.
5 Summer Math Tips
1) Explore Math Concepts with Blocks
If your child will be starting Math-U-See for the first time in the fall, allow them to explore math concepts with the blocks in preparation.
Get the blocks out every few days and try different activities with them such as sorting them by color or size. Allow your child to create shapes or extend simple patterns with the blocks. Benefits (besides fun) are readiness for learning math facts and problem solving.
2) Go to the Library
Check out your local library for great children’s books with a mathematical theme. These books present math ideas in fun ways and can help your child see the big picture. Some read aloud recommendations include:
• The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta
• Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth
• Spaghetti and Meatballs for All! by Marilyn Burns
• A Remainder of One by Elinor J. Pinczes
• The Grapes of Math by Greg Tang
• A Place for Zero: A Math Adventure by Angeline Sparagna LoPresti
• Sir Cumference and the First Round Table by Cindy Neuschwander
3) Use Online Math Drills
Try Math-U-See’s online math drills to review and maintain math fact fluency.
Or print custom worksheets to target specific concepts.
Research shows that the ability to easily recall basic math facts is key to succeeding in many areas of higher mathematics. Without the ability to retrieve facts automatically, students are likely to experience “cognitive overload” as they try solve multi-step problems and encounter more abstract concepts. When students rely on inefficient methods, such as counting or drawing pictures, they often make calculation errors. By continuing to work on fact fluency you are helping your child significantly improve their performance and comfort for when they begin to encounter higher level math concepts.
4) Make Word Problems Fun
Present word problems as fun puzzles to solve. Older children might enjoy solving the word problems on the student pages for the lower levels, and it will help to keep math facts easily accessible in their brains. Additionally, your child may enjoy creating their own original word problems for you or a sibling to solve.
5) Do Math on the Go
• Have your students practice their math skills on the go with the Math-U-See Manipulatives App.
• Play a round of “Numeral Hunt”. The goal is for each participant to find the numerals 0-9 in ascending order. Encourage your child to look on license plates, road signs, and buildings. Try playing a second round and spying the numerals in descending order.
• Look at the weather forecast together online, on TV, or by looking at the paper. Help your child learn what the high and low temperatures are for your area.
• Ask your student to use only the number four and any combination of mathematical operations to come up with the numbers one through twenty as the answers. This is good activity for an older student who knows the order of operations.
• Play a simple game of finding basic shapes, such as rectangles in light switches, squares in windowpanes, circles in clocks, and so forth. Ask your child to explain how they differentiate each shape by their defining and non-defining features. For example, a triangle has three connected sides, and non-defining features such as its position or size.
• The next time you visit the grocery store, pull two different items from the shelf and ask your child which one is heavier: “Is it the can of soup or the box of noodles?” Your child will begin to learn and understand the concept of weight in relation to an object’s size (e.g. just because an item is bigger, doesn’t mean it is heavier and vice versa).
• Taking a road trip? Pick a milestone such as stopping for lunch in fifteen minutes or a gas station to refill your tank in five miles. Ask your child what object they would like to look for until you get to your designated stop. Ideas might include certain car models, vehicles of a certain color, tractors, horses, etc. Encourage them to be creative, and keep their environment in mind. Each player estimates how many of their chosen object they will find by the time the milestone is reached. Next, say “Go!” and the counting begins. When you arrive at your designated stop, see who is the closest to their estimate.
Fortunately it is possible to reinforce math throughout the summer without textbooks and formal lessons. With just a little creativity and minimal effort, your student’s math skills can be kept fresh and ready to go all summer long!