Most children already have a load of homework to do, and when the school bells ring at the end of the school year, they have absolutely no interest in having mom or dad enforce homework time. But, learning can still be brought into the home and parents can provide positive learning experiences that are less regimented over the summer months with fun, engaging games and “tasks". These math extension activities are easy to incorporate into the excitement of summer break.
Keep up Your Student’s Interest in Math
The library is an excellent resource for books and movies about math topics. There are many fun books out there that provide engaging stories for children to relate to that will motive them to test the information shared in the books and explore with math on their own. You can also browse websites to locate math books on counting, fractions, money, number sense, estimating, and graphs. School House Rocks videos are often available at local libraries and are fun and entertaining for children to watch and learn about numbers, addition and multiplication. This is definitely a lot more fun than using flash cards and an excellent addition to math extension activities.
Flash cards, however, can also be used with other neighborhood kids to play games. Consider having a competition of ‘Around the World’ or Memory and incorporate addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. Think you would get kids to come and play?
You could put math problems in crayon on the bottom of your swimming pool and have your kids go diving for rings that have the answers. Or, on rainy days, do this in a large bathtub with bubbles. Kids will love bobbing for the questions and writing answers on the walls with soap.
Another idea is to have your children help you cook and read recipes. Kids love to help in the kitchen, and when they’re able to measure out ingredients on their own they will have a great sense of ownership in the final product, and in their abilities to calculate appropriately. For younger children, you can slice apples and talk about how many pieces you’ve made, for older kids, they can establish ratios or fractions for the apple.
You might want to consider keeping a chart and graph the days where the weather was nice and you were able to participate in fun summer activities, and days that were rainy or full of bad weather that kept you indoors.
You could also create estimation jars every few days. Change out the items once everyone has had a chance to enter their answers. You can also average the mean guess or determine the median.
Many schools have programs where you can check out computer software and games that will help promote math skills and keep students fresh in their current knowledge. There are also many websites for students to play math games on that will do the same if the local schools do not have this option available.
If you’re going on a long car ride, kids can track and graph certain items, for instance how many billboards for a certain company they see, or how many cars that are a specific color, etc.
These fun ideas will show kids that math is important and in use every day all around them.