Summer Math Activities
Each summer my grandkids incorporate a variety of fun activities with basic math concepts. We also like to play board games that include counting money (Monopoly), matching numbers with analytical game playing strategies (Mexican Train Dominos), or learning how to strategically connect intercontinental train lines (Ticket to Ride). We spend hours completing puzzles. Over the years, my kids and grandkids used their math skills when helping with various household activities. Below are ten activities that can support math skill development:
- Use math for a home project. We are in the middle of painting and fixing bathrooms. We are teaching our grandkids how to calculate the square footage of each room for painting, carpeting, and refinishing hardware floors.
- Budget a trip or outing. My teenage granddaughter loves to shop. She is very astute in managing her clothes buying budget and determining how much money she will need for an activity. She loves math and is passionate about getting the most value for her money by researching and comparing prices online and at stores.
- Balance checkbooks and statements. Our grandkids are learning how to manage their money with debit accounts. Their parents transfer their allowances into online debit accounts that the teenagers can use for errands and food purchases. They can also check statements throughout the month to monitor expenditures.
- Encourage kids to use math when selling products or providing services. An elementary grade school grandson loves to make cookies and lemonade to sell on a busy street near his home. He must measure ingredients to prepare various cookie recipes. He must then determine how much he spent for supplies so he can identify a cost for each item that he will sell to generate a small profit. He will repay his parents for his supplies and keep the profit from the items sold.
- Incorporate career explorations and internships. A middle school granddaughter started a custom stamp making business online business. She made beautiful return address stickers and artistic stickers for envelopes and scrapbooking projects. A high school grandson was able to use his increased skiing skills to teach younger children how to ski. He plans to extend his skills when working with children with special needs next season.
- Use math when completing community service activities. The middle school grandson is passionate about trains. He and his grandpa volunteer for a nonprofit recreational train depot at a county park. He is learning how to support the basic maintenance of trains and is meeting the engineers who service the trains. He has memorized the commercial train whistle signals. He is also learning carpentry and uses math skills for fixing fences and various train depot repairs.
- Use math for landscaping projects. The grandkids help us prepare the soil and layout when planting flowers each summer in our garden.
- Design clothes. My younger granddaughters wanted to learn how to sew. We decided to create basic dresses for their Barbie dolls by measuring and cutting out two felt shapes that were bigger than their dolls. We sewed them together with yarn and then we cut out a large opening so the dresses could slip over the heads of their dolls. These handmade outfits stayed on their dolls for months.
- Create mandalas. The grandkids love to watercolor. We use a spirograph or incorporate basic shape templates to design a pattern that they can watercolor for cards or for an art piece for their rooms.
- Create counting collections. My grandkids are collectors. I have several hundred buttons that I have collected from four generations of family members. We count these buttons. We count coins and exchange them at the bank for larger denominations of cash. We count seashells, ants, stamps, stuffed animals, and any other cherished items. Some of the children categorize specific collections.
May you and your child treasure your own creative adventures while incorporating math into your daily lives this summer.
Mary Ann Burke, Ed.D., Digital Education Expert, is a substitute distance learning teacher for Oak Grove School District in San Jose, California and the author of STUDENT-ENGAGED ASSESSMENT: Strategies to Empower All Learners (Rowman & Littlefield: 2020). Dr. Burke creates digital language arts and substitute teaching K – 12 activities for teachers and parents. She is the Cofounder of the Genparenting.com blog. Burke is the former Director II of Categorical & Special Projects for the Santa Clara County Office of Education that supports 31 school districts serving 272,321 students in Santa Clara County. She is also a previous Director – State & Federal Compliance for Oakland Unified School District, the former Director – Grantwriter for the Compton Unified School District, and was the initial VISTA Director for the Community Partnership Coalition in southern California. Much of her work focuses on creating innovative digital trainings and partnership programs for teachers and families to support students’ learning. These programs were featured as a best practice at a National Title I Conference, California’s Title I Conferences, AERA Conferences, an ASCD Conference, the NASSP Conference, and statewide educator conferences.