Here are some fun things you can do to avoid the summer slump and give your kids a leg up on math for the fall, courtesy of Cyberchase, the daily animated math series on PBS KIDS GO!:
Money, money, money!
Kids are always on the lookout for ways to earn money during the summer months. You can hone their math skills by helping them set a goal for the total amount they want to earn, and make a chart or graph to track weekly progress. Encouraging them to budget an amount for saving as well as spending is another way to engage them with money math.
How far? How many? How much?
As parents, we get asked these questions often enough, but how often do we turn them back to our kids and share a brief math moment? If we say, "About how far (how many, how much) do you think it is?" then suggest ways to estimate, we can help them recognize those times when an answer that is close enough is actually good enough. Estimation (or making an informed guess) is a useful math tool any time a precise answer isn't necessary to solve a problem.
Going to the game? Guess my player!
Take turns picking a baseball player's number and making up clues to see if the other person can figure out who it is. For example: "My player's number is an even number. It is more than 10, less than 15, and is a multiple of 3."
Help your kids choose a type of exercise they enjoy (swimming, riding bikes, hiking), then set performance goals – bike or hike a certain distance in a given amount of time, or swim a set number of laps – to try to reach by the end of summer. Use a chart or graph to keep track of progress after each session. Keeping track helps kids measure progress, keeps them motivated, and even predicts how long it will take to reach their goals.
The waiting game: What's my rule?
Everyone spends time waiting, whether it's at the doctor's office, in line at the supermarket, or sitting hungry at a restaurant. Before kids get cranky, play this simple math game that helps build algebraic thinking skills while beating boredom. Player A picks a number between 0 and 10 and says it out loud. Player B silently picks a secret rule (plus 3, for example, or minus 2), applies the rule to the number, and says the new number out loud. Keeping that new number in mind, player A says another number, player B silently applies the same rule, and gives player A the new number. The play continues until player A has enough information to guess the rule.