School is out and all your child wants to do is have some fun!
Class work is probably the last thing on their mind, right? Of course. And, understandably so. On the other hand, after 188 days (give or take) of hard work with daily assignments, how can kids maintain all that progress? Most importantly, in a way that does not put them back in a classroom and rob them of their much deserved time off?
Calling all family members to the rescue! Here are ten ways every family member can contribute to sharpening those essential math skills for their scholastic vacationers. All it takes is a little time, so get ready to have some fun!
Grocery Store, Shopping, and Gas Station
Mental math is great when shopping. Ask your youngster to add items in their head to find the sums. Grab several items of the same price for multiplication. Slip in subtraction by taking away items. Have kids divide the price of peas ($5.00) by 4 cans (answer: $1.25).
Kids love to eat out which made it a popular ‘skill builder” I not only used in the summertime, but all year. Each child has to add their order. Someone totals all of the orders. Finally, someone determines the tip at 10%; 15%; and 20%. If paying by cash, have your child calculate the change.
As a kid, Sunday was when my family took a leisurely drive around town, but any day is just fine. My dad had us count all of the out-of-state license plates; then all of the red cars, blue cars, until all the colors were counted. You can add SUV’s, convertibles, trucks, buses, and motorcycles. If you like, have someone keep tally marks of all your finds.
Board games are fun and lots of them require players to count. Counting money makes Monopoly an age-old hit! Games like Candy Land and Sorry move the player across the board by counting spaces. Other math skill builders include dominoes and dice games. And, here’s another idea: grab a deck of cards. I like Blackjack (use chips, cookies for chips, or candy), Crazy Eights (getting rid of all cards by matching numbers and/or suits), or other educational card games.
Flash cards are an educational standard. Part of the fun is letting the kids make them. You can include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division flash cards. You can create all kinds of flash cards for telling time, plane figures, fractions, and more.
Another way to pass the time with a little bit of learning is to give your child math riddles. Describe a math problem to see if they can answer. For example: I have 2 equal sides and 2 equal angles. What am I? (Isosceles Triangle).
I don’t know too many little ones that do not enjoy kitchen duty when baking cookies. Math and cooking go hand-in-hand. Mathematically speaking, measuring and fractions are highlighted right there in your kitchen! Have your eager chefs measure the required amounts for your recipe. Then step back and watch the smiles as they indulge in the finished product.
Flower and vegetable gardens teach children many things, incorporating science, a love for the environment, and horticulture, to name a few. Math is also a necessary skill for successful gardening. Have your youngster measure the depth needed in well prepared soil for your seed or plant. Don’t forget about measuring the distance between plants. Watering the plants will require your child to measure the proper amounts of water and note the number of times to water during a specific period of time.
Again, measuring food for certain animals can be a very important task for your child. Feeding pets helps kids to become familiar with measurements as well as understand the need for their accuracy.
Providing allowance for chores gives young ones an opportunity to earn and handle money. Handling money encompasses several math operations such as addition and subtraction to name a few. Create a calendar, then list chores. Instead of a flat weekly rate, determine a fixed amount for individual jobs. For example: walking dog- $2.50; washing dishes- $2.75; making bed-$3.00. Mix the jobs up weekly so that the number of jobs and pay differ from week to week. Have your child add up how much you owe them each week based on the assigned chores and how much they pay. Then, have them put aside a percentage for savings. Change the percentage each week.
Dub your child the family social event planner. Placing the time of an event on the family calendar will be their job. Five days away from the activity, go to the calendar and ask, “How many days until the birthday party?” Then, three days away, do the same thing. On the day before the event, ask your child to read the calendar and provide the day, date, and time of the event.
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