Summer Motivation Series | Math Activities

Summer is a wonderful time for rest and relaxation, but it is also a critical time for learning. Research from the National Summer Learning Association indicates that students could lose up to two months of math knowledge over the summer. Other subjects, including reading and spelling, are also affected. The result is students who are behind in learning, which means teachers must spend precious time trying to re-teach material.

How can you prevent your student from falling behind this summer? The answer is simple…keep them engaged!

While it is natural for parents to want their students to have a break over the summer, keeping them engaged does not have to be boring. There are plenty of fun activities that will keep their brains active and alert during the break. Even an hour a week is enough to help retain those critical skills.

This summer, we will be presenting a series of summer activities to keep your students learning this vacation. We will focus on four subject areas – reading & writing, math, and science. Each post will feature five different games, activities, or projects for you and your student to do at home.

Today, we’re starting with math!



Playing Cards

Keep a deck of cards handy and try your hand at some of these math games. Then, when you’re done, teach your student how to play some of the classics – like Hearts, Gin, Rummy, and Double-Handed Solitaire. (Source.)



Simple Board Games

Invest in some simple board games – like Yahtzee and Dominos. Basic sets sell online and in stores for about $12 and provide lots of fun for the whole family. Yahtzee is a great math game because it relies on estimation, probability, and basic functions. Dominos requires solid addition skills and critical thinking as you place your tiles. Bring the games outside and play on a picnic table. Everyone will have a great time! (Photo source and some dice game ideas.)



Fun with Water

This activity can be customized for almost any age…and all you need is sidewalk chalk and a hose. Write numbers on the fence (or driveway). Then call out a math problem and have your student soak the right answers. This is easily adaptable to word/letter/number recognition. For extra fun, ditch the hose and use water balloons. (Source.)



Have a Lemonade Stand

While it may not seem like a math activity on the surface, think of the skills that it takes to run a successful stand. You need to read recipes to make the lemonade, estimate the number of customers, and figure out how much to charge to cover your supply costs. Plus, as a bonus, you get to drink the lemonade! Make the activity extra special by donating the proceeds to a charitable organization. Alex Scott from Alex’s Lemonade Stand (see pictured above) was only 4 when she decided to have a lemonade stand to raise money for pediatric cancer research. (Click here to learn more about Alex’s Lemonade Stand.)



Cool Math-Games

Online Computer Games

While too much screen time is certainly discouraged, you can set up your student to play some fun (and educational) computer games. These will make long car trips much more enjoyable for everyone! Search online or browse for a new app. I have had great success with in the past. They have hundreds of amazing games that cover all levels of math. (Warning…some of their business games are habit-forming.)


Be on the lookout for the next part of the series…and have a sunny summer!


What other ideas do you have for summer math activities? Share them in the comments section!


LLC Summer 2016

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About the Author

Dave Hoffman