Sleeping in, Lounging at the pool, and ...Learning math?

Sleeping in, Lounging at the pool, and ...Learning math?

April 17, 2013

Summer’s coming – time to lounge around the pool, sleep in, and meet up with friends at the park. Three months devoid of homework, calculators, and pop quizzes. School seeps in only in the form of a little bit of summer reading. Life is good.


But what about all those skills we learned last year? Unfortunately, studies show that students lose about 2.6 months’ worth of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills. So for every month they spend eating popsicles at the pool, they loose a month of math facts! Regardless of socioeconomic status, the Areas of greatest loss are in factual or procedural knowledge. Ouch!

Do you have kids? You can help curb some of that loss, and if you’re sneaky, your kids won’t even know they are learning! Parenting Magazine wrote a great piece on tips to stop summer learning loss (you can read the whole article here:,1) . My favorite tip is to “keep it personal”. Math learning in the summer doesn’t have to be drilling math worksheets- make it fun, and do the math with your kids. Sharing the experience with them enhances their learning in real ways. Show them how you use math every day: adding up prices in the store; doubling a recipe in the kitchen; or deciding when to leave to get to the movie on time. You can build strong positive relationships with math, easing the transition into school next fall.

Sneak in the Learning

Here are a few creative activities to get kids hands on, and sneak in some math understanding!

  • Find a stump and count the rings, figure out how old the tree was, and what year it was when the tree was your child’s age (add some history: what historical events occurred that year?)
  • Bake! Pull out lots of different measuring devices and let your child experiment with the best way to make the fractions needed in the recipe (double or halve the recipe to make it harder!)
  • Take a measuring tape when you go for a walk, and measure what you find – the biggest tree, the smallest bug, the tallest flower
  • Have game nights! Play Monopoly, Mancala, Cribbage, Rummy, or Dominoes
  • Dump all the change out of the piggy bank and have the kids organize, count, and roll it. Take it to the bank and watch it turn into dollars!
  • Here is an example of a MANGO Math activity, a great game for summer learning!

Pencils and Jars Puzzle



Puzzle 1

I have some pencils and some jars.
If I put 4 pencils into each jar I will have one jar left over.
If I put 3 pencils into each jar I will have one pencil left over.
How many pencils and how many jars?

Puzzle 2

Again I have some pencils and some jars
If I put 9 pencils into each jar I will have two jars left over
If I put 6 pencils into each jar I will have three pencils left over
How many pencils and how many jars?

Check back for the answer tomorrow!