Top 10 Ways to Beat the Summer Slide

May 3, 2018 | Oak Park/ River Forest

Top 10 Ways to Beat the Summer Slide!

What is the Summer Slide?

During the summer, students who don’t practice their math skills can lose as much as 3 months of learning. This not only hurts their retention of the material learned during the previous school year, but can make it much harder to stay at the right pace during the next school year.

But worry not! There are plenty of ways to beat the summer slide, and we at Mathnasium wanted to share the 10 we think are the best!


1. Play Math Games

While it’s important to continue math education during the summer, many kids might show resistance toward learning during their break. The best way to combat that is by HAVING FUN! Fortunately, math can be a fun time for the entire family, and math-centric games are a wonderful way to do that.

Many classic board games like checkers or chess can help encourage logical thinking. For kids who enjoy competition, a fast-paced multiplication or addition game like Speed! or 7 Ate 9 are perfect. If you’re looking to strengthen basic number facts, games like Sum Swamp and I Sea 10 are great ways to reinforce them in younger kids! Look around at a local store or online, and you will find plenty of math games.

2. Read a Math Book

Math isn’t the only thing in danger of the Summer Slide – reading comprehension can also be drastically affected. By reading during the summer, your child will help combat that and ensure that they are staying at the right reading level! What’s more, there are many enjoyable books with math in them that will help your child to keep thinking about math while they read!

For younger kids, books like Ten Apples Up On Top or The ABC’s of Mathematics are an excellent tool for teaching foundational math and reading skills. For older kids, chapter books like The Number Devil, Flatland, or the Phantom Tollbooth can provide fun stories while also using mathematical concepts as a plot element. Look around the Library and see what awesome math books you can find!

3. Do Math on the Sidewalk or at the Beach

What better way to spend a summer day than outside? And what better way to spend your time outside than with math! Grab some sidewalk chalk and practice your math skills right on the ground. What’s great about this activity is that it will be much more engaging and fun for your child  to practice math while playing outside than by sitting inside all day.

You can customize this activity to match any learning level! Anything from addition and subtraction to fractions all the way to geometry can be done with outside with chalk! If you’re not sure which problems are appropriate for your child’s grade level, you can find many workbooks online with grade-appropriate material. Just rewrite the problems from the page on the ground

4. Find Math in Day-to-Day Activities

Part of what makes learning math so important is that is shows up ALL THE TIME! We do math every single day, often without even thinking about it. If you  look for it, you will find it. Once you recognize where math is showing up in your life, share that discovery with your kid!

Here are some examples of math problems in a normal summer day:

If it takes 15 minutes to walk from your house to the park, and you leave at 12:00, what time will you get to the park?

If this ice cream costs $1, and you pay with a $5 bill, how much change will you get back?

If a recipe calls for ¾ cup of milk, but you want to double the recipe, how much milk should you use?


5. Use Playing Cards

Math games aren’t the only way to have fun while learning math! If you have a deck of playing cards lying around, you have one of the best tools you need to teach math in a fun and engaging way. Playing games like “Black Jack” or “21” will teach kids about adding, subtracting, and complimentary numbers, while also introducing them to probability. “War” can be used to teach the concept of greater than or less than, and by playing the “Multiplication War” variant, where you draw 2 cards and their product is your number, you can expand this into a multiplication lesson.

You can also even flip through an entire deck of cards as a more interactive way of doing multiplication drills! Just say that Jacks, Queens, and Kings are equal to 11, 12, and 13 respectively, then flip through every card in a deck while having your kid multiply the card by a number. See how fast you can do an entire deck x2 or x5!

6. Make Charts and Graphs of Your Summer Activities

How often do you go out for ice cream during a normal summer? Or go to the park? Or play soccer with your friends? These questions can be answered if you start keeping track! Set up a chart with a list of activities and make a mark for every time you do that activity. At the end of the summer, see what you did the most. Save it for next summer, so you can do the activity again and compare!

For more advanced students, you can use graphs. You can plot the temperature every day on a line graph. Record everything you eat for dinner and assemble the data into a bar graph. Keep track of which flavor you get every time you get ice cream and make a pie chart to demonstrate which is your favorite! This activity can be fun and rewarding, and your child can also express their artistic side when drawing and coloring the graphs.

7. Count Sidewalk Squares

Counting is one of the most important base skills in all of mathematics. All four major operations of math (adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing) can be thought of as different ways of counting! There is no better way to strengthen that foundation than by practicing counting. During the summer, when you are playing outside, why not count the sidewalk squares in front of your house!

Is counting 1 at a time too easy for your kid? No problem! You can also count by 2s or 5s, or even by 7s or 9s for a real challenge! If each sidewalk square is being counted as 6, then what number would you land on if you counted your entire block?  

8. Practice Measurement

How big is your garden? Back yard? Living room? What about your pet, best friend, neighbor, or even yourself? The best way to find out is easy: just measure! Learning measurement facts is a vital part of every kid’s math education, and as always, practice makes perfect. Use rulers, yard sticks and measuring tape to measure the length of things!

You can also use clocks and stop watches to measure elapsed time, or a kitchen scale to measure the weight of things. This activity is another great excuse to bust out the chalk. Have your child lie down on the sidewalk and trace their length from head-to-toe. Once you’re done, they can use a ruler or measuring tape to figure out how tall they are! Have them lie down again, but this time with their arms spread out and measure from fingertip-to-fingertip. How big is their wingspan? How does it compare to height? Have them repeat this experiment with a friend and see what happens!

9. Use Pool Noodles to Practice Fractions

Nothing beats the summer heat quite like going for a nice swim! With this activity, your child will be able to practice their fraction skills. All you need are a few pool noodles, a marker, and something to cut them with. By measuring and cutting the noodles into fractional parts like ½ or ¼, you can demonstrate many of the foundational skills of fractions.

This activity can help answer questions like “Which is bigger, 1/6 or 1/8?” or “How many 1/4s fit inside 1/2?” Making these fraction noodles beforehand and having them in your pool during the summer will be a terrific way to keep your kid thinking about fractions! This idea (and image) was originally

10. Come to Mathnasium!

Mathnasium has a variety of summer programs designed to help your child beat the summer slide! We offer programs for all ages and all math abilities, and we help make math more engaging and fun for everyone. With a focus on improving all children’s conceptual understanding at every level of math, we will make sure that next school year is greater than last.

Whether your child needs to catch up, keep up, or get ahead, our math activities and curriculum will help! Mathnasium of Oak Park/River Forest offers programs geared toward students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and our fun and interactive learning environment has been proven to help students gain a deeper understanding of mathematics while also beating the summer slide.

And the best part about it? We’re currently offering 10% OFF All Summer Programs to anyone who signs up in the month of May! Don’t delay, give us a call today at (708) 613-4007 to book your Free Trial session, and we will show you how Mathnasium can help your family!