7 Ways to Build Math Skills This Summer

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4 min read

Math is not typically the first thing your child thinks of when summer is mentioned. However, there are ways to build math skills this summer that will make it more fun to incorporate into everyday life. Strategies to build math skills this summer include math-inspired games, engaging field trips, and DIY projects. 

Hoping to enhance your student’s math skills during summer break? Keep reading to learn seven ways to do so. 

Build summer math skills with math games

Games are an excellent strategy to teach math skills over the summer—they inherently have associations of playtime for elementary students, and are more interesting and interactive than a workbook for middle school students. Tile games, such as Mobi, and math puzzles, like Sudoku, are interactive ways for your student to strengthen their math skills this summer and to have fun while doing so. 

In addition, there is often math in traditional board games—such as Monopoly or Yahtzee. When playing these games, you can encourage your child to take the role of the scorekeeper or banker. Beyond board games, research apps and computer games that may hold your child’s interest. 

[RELATED: 4 Tips to Create a Summer Learning Plan With Your Child

Build summer math skills with a math-themed scavenger hunt

Since the summer months are often the perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors, plan activities such as a math hike or scavenger hunt. Have your child look for patterns, geometric shapes, and clusters out in nature—whatever’s appropriate to their learning level. Have them study symmetry in the collected items. If you’d like, you can have them bring items back home, or simply take photographs on an adult’s phone for further discussion later. 

Build summer math skills by utilizing number talks 

Number talks are a teaching strategy used in some classrooms where a teacher leads a five-to-15 minute conversation around number problems. Students don’t use math tools or manipulatives. Rather, in number talks, students are encouraged to visualize and think through math concepts in their minds as a way to build number sense. The teacher facilitates a conversation around problem-solving and students are able to see more than one way to solve problems. Number talks are an excellent activity to use at home in the summer. 

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Build summer math skills by establishing real world connections

Encourage math in your everyday interactions throughout the summer. Baking or cooking is a great way to practice measurement and fractions that is both tactile and tasty. Shopping at the grocery store, for example, or at the mall, is an excellent setting for practicing mental math, such as addition and calculating discounts. If you have a farmer’s market close by, elementary students can practice simple mental math problems for items that you buy. Encourage your child to familiarize themselves with prices on menus when you go out to eat and to help calculate the tip at the end of the meal. 

Build summer math skills by embarking on math-geared field trips

Take your child on field trips, if possible, out in the community. The local children’s museum will often have dedicated math-focused areas. Math and science museums, of course, will also be great. You can also do math scavenger hunts in art museums, aquariums, field museums, and botanical gardens. 

Build summer math skills by teaching budgeting

Have your child create and maintain a summer budget. At the beginning of the summer, have them make a plan for saving and spending. If you already give your child some allowance or spending cash, discuss with them how they’d like to use it. 

  • How much, or what percentage, do they want to save or possibly donate? 
  • What items would they like to save up for this summer? 

Putting them in charge of their own finances is great practice for the future and gives them ownership over an important part of their lives. 

Build summer math skills by researching DIY projects

Encourage summer projects that might be too time-consuming during the regular academic year. Research DIY projects that are overall math-focused. Building a garden or flower bed together will provide some practice with measurement. Or complete engineering challenges, like constructing bridges or buildings out of household ingredients like craft sticks and Q-tips. If they’d like, enroll your child in a coding or robotics class or camp. 

[RELATED: 6 Activities to Keep Students Learning This Summer]

Summer doesn’t have to be a time where students forget math for lack of practice. Beyond these ways to build math skills, you can also check in with your child’s outgoing or incoming teachers for other ways to practice math, or simply to get a better sense of where they’re going academically in the next year.

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