Summer Math: 9 Steps to Fun Learning!

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Have you ever gotten to the end of the school year and thought? “Now, what do we do all summer?” Sure, there’s swimming and vacation. But you don’t want to lose ground on all that work you did all year!

Enter: Summer Math!

Summer math and the fun you can have with it can help you feel better about taking all those weeks off.

Even if they don’t always enjoy math during the school year, you may find they make great progress in summer math. Here are 9 great ways to make summer math fun!

Let’s take a look at my top ten ways to make sure your kids love summer math! 

You probably won’t use ALL these ideas, but I want you to have plenty of tools in your belt. So let’s dive in! (Get it? Summer? The pool? Diving? Yes?)

summer math

 Summer Math Tip #1: Get the schoolwork done first, then play

Let’s face it: even fun “summer math” is not the same as free time for playing, or time with friends. Use your favorite summer activities as the “carrot on the stick” that will get your kids through whatever math work you choose to do. 

For many families, because math is the only thing they have “left” to do in summer, this strategy works great. Having just *one* subject to do already feels like a break. Couple that with a reward of the pool, or the sprinkler, or fun with friends, and summer math automatically feels way different than the rest of the year.

So, if you have textbook lessons to get through, prioritize them over the fun for the day. No (fill in the blank) until the math work has gotten done. Remind them that it’s only ONE subject. Focus on that one subject, and then the fun will begin when they are done.

Summer Math Tip #2: Work indoors during hot summer afternoons

This may seem to contradict Summer Math Tip #1, but hang with me here. If you live in a particularly warm area, you already know that even the most outdoorsy kids can wilt on a hot and humid summer afternoon. 

If that’s the case with you, then you can use Summer Math to your advantage! Get outside in the morning, and then head inside when it heats up. If you incorporate the math work into the heat of the day when the kids don’t want to be outside anyway, it can save you a battle. And we all need fewer battles!

Saving the work for your inside time can also help break up the monotony of summer afternoons. Plus, doing math in the heat of the day gives you an educational alternative to endless TV or screen time. In fact, in keeping with Summer Math Tip #1, TV or screen time just might be the reward that gets them through each day’s lesson. 

Summer Math Tip #3: Only work on certain days of the week

You may consider that to make summer math fun, only working certain days of the week helps. Summer can be great for its freedom, but some kids still crave a routine. 

If you put summer math on the schedule on certain days only, then it gives a sense of both structure AND freedom. Kids who crave routine see that they can expect to do math certain days, and kids who crave lazy days can see there is still plenty of space for fun, too.

In addition, this approach means kids can continue doing lessons and keeping their skills up while also getting the much-needed downtime that actually aids learning. Scheduling just a litle work between all the summer fun can make the math work enjoyable, too.

Summer Math Tip #4: Give Your Kids Freedom to Choose their Schedule

What else can make summer math fun? Giving them a little control.

Especially for older kids, this can make summer math special. To feel like they have some amount of say over their schedule can be so different from the school year!

So if you have a kid who really wants to try doing math in the afternoon–now is the time to see if they can focus then. If you have a teen who is working mornings and says their brain works better at night, why not try it now? They get to control a variable, which makes them feel more mature. And you may find a new way of doing things that will work into the school year!

Summer Math Tip #5: Games, Games, Games

For as much as kids say they dread math, you’d think they didn’t know how many great games actually reinforce math learning!

You can capitalize on that during summer, when kids crave fun. If there are math lessons to be done or you still need to knock some homeschool days off the checklist, turn it into a game! Or better yet, use a game to get the math practice in, and everyone’s a winner.

Stuck for ideas? Try Number Knock Out, use Legos, or play store and get in lots of practice with money. 

You can also work with the calendar: Countdown to vacations or visits is a major hit for many kids that keeps them using math in everyday ways and having fun doing it. 

Need more ideas? Here’s a great place to start.

Summer Math Tip #6: Let Them Be Teacher for the Day

How to make math in summer fun? Three words: Mix. It. Up.

Summer is a great time to shake things up a little. Being a student can be tiresome–someone else is always in charge. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way in summer! Try letting your kids be the teacher for the day. This gets their brains working in a totally different way, and mixing things up like this can be so refreshing.

The best part of this summer math mixup is that it really does mean they have to show what they know. If they are going to teach a concept, they really have to think through everything that goes into it. If they can explain it, they get it!

Teacher for the Day is a great way to make math fun while making sure your student really knows their stuff. Add in that they get to be in charge, and this may be one they ask for all year long!

Summer Math Tip #7: Take it Outside

Anything is better outside–especially summer math! Fun memories equal fun learning and that’s exactly what we are going for when we try to reinforce math concepts in summer.

Outside, the sun is able to work it’s mood-boosting magic. It’s just so much easier to learn when you’re in a good mood. Kids can also see patterns or shapes in nature that really bring home the concepts they’ve learned.

If you want to garden, you can measure plots or depth of seed holes. You can mark plants’ growth and convert how much water you are pouring on them. 

Got chalk? I find that if you head outside with some chalk, suddenly every math learning opportunity becomes more fun. If you want to practice number lines or math facts, a little chalk can go a long way toward summer fun. Try it–you’ll see!

summer math

Summer Math Tip #8: Work with Teens on Real-Life Skills

This one is HUGE! If your teen has a summer job, there is so much opportunity for real-life skills to grow. They can learn about taxes, about how to budget, and start to conceptualize how much money they’ll need when they are on their own.

Summer is a perfect opportunity to really make math practical and applicable to teens. Even if they are working the pool concession stand or babysitting the neighbor, there are math lessons that can be learned. And these are the kind of lessons that are fun to learn but will pay dividends for years to come.

This is also a great time for new drivers to learn how to calculate gas mileage, figure out what the best routes are for trips, and begin to do the math on how much travel costs. All of that calculating keeps math skills fresh, while also teaching them what they can expect as they grow up and learn how to adult all on their own!

Summer Math Tip #9: Embrace Rest

Even if this post has motivated you to do more math this summer than ever before, keep in mind that rest is important, too. A little math every week is all you really need to keep your student from losing the skills they’ve gained.

So if summer math fun suddenly isn’t so fun–pay attention. Put down the books, the pencils, even the chalk if you need to, and rest. Play. Sleep. Talk. Downtime matters, in summer just as much as any other time.

I hope your break this year is full of fun with a big helping of summer math fun on the side! Got any more ideas? Send ‘em my way! Have a great summer!

Talk to you soon, 

Nicole the Math Lady

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