4 Fun Ways to Use Math on Summer Vacation

Jun 8, 2022 | Glendale

By Chloe Jade Skye, Mathnasium Instructor

School is officially out for most of you, and that means it’s summer vacation! Whether you’re traveling or just relaxing at home, vacation is the perfect time for a reset. But during the long months without school, you don’t want your child’s math skills to reset, making it all the more difficult when fall rolls around. Here are a few fun ways to utilize math skills during the long summer months.

1. Play card games—and let the kids keep score

There are a multitude of card games that utilize math skills. Often, it requires a combination of strategy (critical thinking), counting, and probability. Get some people together, including your kids, and teach them to play a few classics. Personally, I recently began playing Euchre with a few friends fairly regularly, and it has been a great way to spend time together. Not to mention, there’s a whole lot of score keeping. Challenge the children to keep score. Have them each keep score on their own, and make that a separate game to see if the scores match up at the end. If Euchre isn’t your style, you can always play Cribbage, Poker, Rummy, or even a very specifically math game that kids seem to have fun with: Multiplication Facts. For some reason, when it’s in a deck of cards, it’s a lot more fun than when the questions are written on a piece of paper.

2. Create creative challenges

If you’re going to the beach, chances are someone’s going to want to build a sand castle. Make the sand castle interesting by challenging the kids to make the castle in the shape of a pentagon. Or an octagon. If they don’t know what those words mean, you get to teach them. Ask them to build a circular castle with a one foot radius. Again, teach them if they don’t know. They won’t even necessarily know that they’re learning—to them, it’s a day at the beach building sand castles. For you, it’s an opportunity to have fun with your kids while also teaching them something they’ll use in the upcoming school year.

3. Acknowledge when math is being used

Math is everywhere in our lives. It’s not always the most complicated type of math, but it’s always there. Whether we’re filling up our cars with gas, calculating sales tax, or figuring out a tip, we are surrounded by math concepts. Whenever one is present, you can bring your kids into it. You can easily say, “this car holds 12 gallons of gas. Right now, gas is \$3.05 per gallon. About how much would it cost to fill up the car if it was empty?” It’s a fairly simple math problem, with a decimal point if they choose to get extremely specific. And then, they get to watch the numbers roll by to see if their guess was correct.

4. Promote Athleticism

Wait, I thought this article was about math? Well, it is. Like I said, math is all around us—especially in our sports. Whether you’re playing a game and keeping score, or you’re just racing each other, you’re using numbers. A race involves speed, which involves distance and time, both of which are numbers. A fun thing to do would be to time how long it takes kids to run a certain distance, and then ask them how fast they were going. Naturally, the kids are going to want to be able to go the fastest they possibly can, and continue to beat their own personal records as you go along. The beauty is, you can do this anywhere, whether you’re in your neighborhood, a local playground, a park, the beach, or Disney World. There’s always a way to entice kids to learn and improve.

5. Make up your own math challenges—and share them online

I promised you four, so for the final number in this mathematical article (the math is even in here!), I challenge you to come up with your own creative ways to keep your kids learning and having fun over the summer. Share them on Facebook, post them to the Mathnasium Facebook page, and together we can all collaborate on making a smarter and brighter future for the children of the world today.

Who says math can’t be fun? I’ve enjoyed solving problems and calculating answers since I was a kid, and that’s thanks, in part, to adults who pushed me to grow and thought up creative ways for me to learn. You can do the same for your children, paving the way for success. Thanks for reading, and have a great summer!

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