Local Tutoring News in Brownsville

Sum Summer Fun... 5 Math Activities for You and Your Kids

Jul 13, 2016
We’re a little over a month into summer vacation down here in the RGV, and the temperature is rising, the kids are splashing in the pool, and backpacks are probably ditched somewhere deep in the back of the closet next to last year’s science experiment. You know...next to that experiment that started growing fur and just might be alive.
Yes, summer is a great time for kids to catch up on some much needed rest and unwind a bit from the hectic school year, but they should also be preparing for what’s ahead on their academic journey. 
Without the proper daily routine, essential reading, writing and math can easily be forgotten. Sylvan calls this the “summer slump”, which is the learning loss that takes place when kids are out of school for the those couple of summer months, and it can be a cause for concern if not taken into proper consideration. 
Unfortunately, learning loss is more likely to happen with math more than any other subject. Your child’s ability to interpret and calculate math problems is typically most affected and it can be months into the school year before your child is back on track from when they left off for summer vacation. No need to worry though. Your Sylvan Learning of the Rio Grande Valley is here to offer you 5 math activities to do with your kids that are guaranteed to be fun enough stop those “ahhs” and eye-rolls.
#1 - “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” - Ice Cream Combinations
This is a perfect activity to help quell that intense summer heat. Hit the ice cream parlors and have your kids figure out how many different combinations there are if they can only choose 2 scoops from the various options the parlor may have. Let them be creative, colorful, and of course, let them pig-out a bit. Try to make rounds at a couple different places and watch their methods become efficient and systematic - just expect to hear, “what if we got three scoops?” This delicious way to solve for permutations and combinations can even be done at home (just make sure to purchase enough ice cream variations).
# 2 “On the Road Again” - Road Trip Number Sense           
Tablets are dead, “The Farmer in the Dell” is on its 50th repeat, and you still have 3 hours on the road before you get to your final destination. Well, no need to fret. There’s numbers racing all around you. That’s right...use the license plates of fellow drivers to practice some quick mathematical operations. Decide a target number and have your kids add, subtract, and multiply for the win. If they’re a bit older, have them write out the formula to show you where parenthesis would go, just to give them some order of operations practice as well.
# 3 - “We’re Going to the Beach” - Liquid Volume
No. This activity isn’t meant to ruin the pleasure of a beach day. It’s about getting kids to fall in love with math without them even knowing. That’s right, they’ll be learning and they won’t even fight it. Think about taking various sized empty plastic bottles with you on your trip to the beach (or pool) to help your little ones explore liquid volume. An empty pint bottle, a gallon jug, and an old measuring cup, will let them examine proportions of liquid right at their fingertips. Throw in a few various shaped containers (skinny, tall, short, and large) and let the kids learn about Piaget’s concept of conservation.
# 4 - “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” - Beach Ball Addition and Multiplication
Kids have more energy than anybody, but sometimes they don’t know what to do with all that physical and mental stamina. This activity is perfect for those moments.
Using a beach ball (a soccer ball works also) have the kids label every distinct section of the ball with numbers 1 through 12. You might be able to repeat numbers, which is perfectly fine as it helps them to practice adding or multiplying doubles. Have your children toss the ball to one another, and whatever numbers there thumbs land on when they catch it, they can either add or multiply (depending on their math skill level). Keep score of correct answers or throw in some time constraints to make the game a little bit more competitive and interesting for the kids.
 #5 “It’s Game Time” - Board Games 
Good old-fashioned Monopoly is an excellent summer math game in that it provides practice for counting, addition, subtraction, and perhaps most importantly - money skills. Though definitely a time consuming game to win, the overall experience is worth the wait. Another great and entertaining game akin to Monopoly is Life as it also teaches basic money skills, addition, and subtraction. Last, but not least is Chess, which is great for developing a child’s logic abilities, an imperative skill to fully grasp math.
Another way to get kids to think creatively about math is by taking them to your local Sylvan Learning Center in the Rio Grande Valley. We have offices in McAllen, Brownsville, Harlingen, and are expanding to other cities. Bring them in and have them participate in our EDGE courses that include Math, Engineering, Robotics, Coding and more!