Insights

# Math Activities to Beat the Summer Slide

Hooray! Summer is finally here! A chance to relax and enjoy a break from the busyness of the school year… Look out, though, because the “summer slide” could be lurking ahead! Many teachers fear this will happen when their students forget much of what they learned during the school year because they don’t practice over the summer. Students need to keep practicing in order to maintain and develop their skills, so it can be a big issue if they don’t engage their brains during the summer months.

A recent study has shown that students in grades 1–8 experience a decline in retention of 17% to 34% of the previous year’s learning during summer vacation. It also suggests that children who lag behind during one summer are prone to further widening that gap over time. Here are some ideas to share with your students’ parents or use with your own children to avoid the summer slide.

## Building Math into Daily Activities

There are many ways to seamlessly weave math practice into everyday activities, helping your child retain skills and prevent the summer slide.

• Incorporate math into everyday tasks such as cooking and baking. Help your child measure and count ingredients, calculate recipe measurements in different units (such as ¼ cup is equal to 2 fluid ounces), and practice fractions by dividing and doubling recipe quantities.
• Sort and categorize items around the house based on different attributes such as color, shape, or size. Have your child count and compare the items in each group.
• Promote family time by playing math-related games with your child, such as board games, card games, or online math games that reinforce addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills. If playing multiple rounds of a game, have each family member keep track of their own score to give your child an additional opportunity to practice addition. Check out these math ideas involving dice, decks, and dominoes!

• Involve your child in budgeting and shopping activities. Have them help create a budget for a grocery shopping trip, calculate prices, and understand concepts such as discounts and sales tax.
• Use everyday objects such as coins, buttons, or building blocks to practice number sense, counting, sorting, patterns, and simple addition and subtraction problems.
• Have your child practice telling time by creating a daily schedule or setting timers for different activities throughout the day. This is also helpful in limiting screen time and promoting other activities such as playing outside, reading, or various creative activities with blocks, playdough, crafts, dramatic play, writing stories, etc. Try Origo Big Books to help your child beat the summer slide!
• Provide fun ways for kids to practice shapes. Kids can use marshmallows and toothpicks to create shapes. Playdough is another fun activity, as they can use shape cutters to form shapes, squash the dough, and begin again.

## Playtime Activities to Beat the Summer Slide

• Outdoor math scavenger hunt: What a better way to beat the summer slide than with an outdoor scavenger hunt! Create a list of math-related items for children to find outside, such as a certain number of rocks, sticks, or flowers. Have them count, group, and add up the items to practice their math skills.

• Stacking sticks to practice tally marks: Many youngsters enjoy gathering sticks, so turn it into a math activity. Have them lay out the sticks to create tally marks to show various amounts. Plus, this is a great way for them to help clean up the lawn after a storm!
• Drawing and measuring shapes outside: Have children draw shapes of various sizes using sidewalk chalk. Then they can use a measuring tape to calculate the length of the sides or the distance across the shape. This provides an opportunity to also recall or introduce the concepts of perimeter, diameter, and area.
• Playing “trash can ball” to practice adding place value: Label small trash cans (or any type of small container) with values as high as the child has learned (i.e., 10, 100, 1,000, etc.). Place them in a line or in various locations, with the highest amount being the farthest away. Create ten balls by crumbling up one piece of paper per ball. Have the child throw the balls and add up their score based on the value of the container. For example, three balls in the hundreds container would equal three hundred points. For a wet alternative, use water balloons or have a bucket of water at the starting line so kids can fill sponges to throw into the containers instead.
• Fishing for numbers: This activity is great for practicing number recognition, ordering numbers, or practicing addition. Children first cut out fish from construction paper. Numbers are written on each fish, using 1–10 for younger levels or 2-3-digit non-consecutive numbers for older levels. To create a fishing pole, attach a string to a thin wooden rod or stick by wrapping it around one end and gluing or taping it until secure. On the other end of the string, tie a large paper clip (binder clips work great). Attach an adhesive magnet to each fish, perhaps using it as the fish’s eye. Kids can then start fishing! They can practice number recognition by reading the numbers on the fish as they catch them. Multiple fish can be caught and then placed in order from least to greatest. To practice addition, the values of the fish caught can be added together. Want a wet, summer variation of this activity? Use craft foam for the fish or put them inside sealed plastic bags. Have kids fish from a kiddy pool or under-bed storage tote filled with water.
• Bowling at home: Label plastic bottles 1–10. Set them up in a triangle, with the one at the front descending to number ten in either of the corners. Roll a ball to knock down as many bottles as possible. Add up the numbers knocked over to calculate a score for that turn. Using pool noodles as lanes is a handy trick to keep the ball or bottles from going all over the place. Also, be sure to use a heavy enough ball that won’t bounce too much but will still easily roll.
• Practicing skip-counting through hopscotch: Use sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch board (or multiple boards). Write number patterns (i.e., 4, 8, 12, 16, etc.) in the blocks for students to say aloud as they play hop to complete the board. Don’t forget to practice counting backward too!

These are just a few of the countless math activities that can be utilized to beat the dreaded summer slide. They are versatile because most of the activities can be played by one child or adapted for multiple children. Plus, some include water for those hot summer days! The important thing is for kids to spend time each day practicing various math skills. The bonus for them is having fun while practicing, like enjoying extra sprinkles on top of ice cream!

Want to know more?

## ORIGO Education

ORIGO Education has partnered with educators for over 25 years to make math learning meaningful, enjoyable and accessible to all.