Summer Slide: Losing Math Skills

Is it difficult to avoid a math summer slide? How do we keep math skills at the ready? Fortunately, the answer is actually very simple. Use math every day.

How to Avoid “Math Slide”

Like reading, math can be a fun and natural part of a relaxed summertime routine. Before the end of the school year, familiarize yourself with the specific skill sets your child has been working on and see if any concepts need extra review. Then, once you have this information in hand, figure out how you can practice and reinforce these concepts in your everyday life.

Here are some specific ideas to get you started:

  • Grow a garden.  Your child will have fun measuring the distance between the seedsSummer math she plants. Teach them to estimate 1 inch by putting two fingers together.  Another good garden project is also a chance to measure rainfall and record other interesting bits of data.
  • On especially hot days, seek refuge from the sun with an innovative online math game like Time4MathFacts. Grab an exclusive 10% discount here!
  • STEM camp programs have grown in popularity over the last several years and offer fantastic opportunities to practice and develop practical math skills.
  • Practice money math by playing store with young children. Set up a shop with play money and invite older siblings to “shop.” Better yet, your child can open a real lemonade stand or have a yard sale.
  • Board games with dice are a great way to keep young children practicing their addition.
  • Many teens work in the summer. Take advantage of this time to teach your child smart money management tips. Discuss savings and debt. They will welcome the chance to manage their own money and can be encouraged to open savings and checking accounts and to establish some financial goals.
  • Planning your family’s summer vacation requires a fair amount of math. Therefore, encourage your child to help with planning by asking him to draft a travel budget and to determine gas consumption and mileage for your next family road trip.
  • Do you have any plans for home renovations? Let your child help!  In fact, home repairs and renovations provide countless opportunities to use practical math skills and learn life skills!
  • Among adults, the Do It Yourself movement is a tremendously popular trend. Kids love to make things too. DIY projects including woodworking, sewing, robotics—anything they come up with—can be satisfying creative opportunities that make math more relevant and meaningful to your child.

Truly, the summer slide is a real phenomenon. Impoverished children are especially vulnerable to its negative effects and this is a critical issue that must receive attention. However, summer slide does not happen because kids close their textbooks, stop sitting at desks, and choose to go swimming instead. Summer slide happens when children become disengaged.

With inspiring materials, engaging most children is easy, productive, and an amazing amount of fun. In fact, children are programmed to learn every moment of the day. It’s our job to provide them with resources and encouragement and then to step aside and watch the amazing things that kids can do when given the freedom of time.


Get even more summer learning encouragement in our Summer Learning Challenge Podcasts!

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