With school out and summer fast approaching, parents often start thinking of what activities they can do to keep their kids engaged, thinking, and having fun. While kids need summer time to disengage from schoolwork and just be kids, its also important for parents to keep children intellectually engaged throughout summer. Studies show that students lose months of reading and math skills over summer vacation, a phenomenon known as Summer Math Loss. In fact, research indicates that most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. (Cooper, 1996).
Academic Savvy offers many creative “learning” activities for parents to do with their kids over the summer. Below is the first of a three-part series beginning with math fun.
Summer Savvy Part 1: Grocery Store Math
Grocery shopping is one of the best examples of a place where math is real. It is a great place for practicing estimation, numeracy, mental math, comparing shapes, and measurement, just to name a few. By allowing your children to actively participate in weighing, counting, and figuring prices per pound, you are reinforcing abstract skills learned in class within a real-life context. Next time you’re at the store, try the following activities with your child:
Rounding Up/Down and Mental Math – as you place items in your cart, have your child round up or down to the nearest dollar, then keep a mental tab of the total cost of your purchase.
Using a Calculator – as you place items in your cart, have your child round up or down to the nearest dollar, then add or subtract items to keep a tab of the total cost. Right before you reach the register, have your child calculate the sales tax as well.
Recognizing Numbers – for kids ages 3-6, playing a number recognition game is a great way to reinforce numeracy. As you shop, call out different numbers, and ask your child to find it on the shelves or on products.
Identifying Shapes – for kids of all ages, this activity will help reinforce geometry skills. As you shop, call out a shape, for example a square, and ask your child to find other items shaped just like it.
Weighing Produce and Calculating Cost – while shopping in the produce section, you can ask your children to predict how heavy items are or if one item is going to be heavier than another. Older children can use the price per pound to calculate the total cost of an item.
These are just a few of the things you can do with your children this summer to avoid summer learning loss. Here are a few links below to other sites that have wonderful suggestions and activities to help your kids have a fun and productive summer.