Thinking Mathematically: 10 Summer Fun Activities Your Kids Will Love
By: Alyssa Mendez
Math is present in the world around us and is often used to solve real-world problems. Yet, this subject continues to face diminishing proficiency among students nationwide. You can help stop this downward trend in its tracks by completing the CCA Summer Math Challenge presented in this article, which will challenge your child to think mathematically . . . without even realizing it!
Can you remember the last time you calculated tip at a restaurant, followed a recipe to make a meal/dessert, or refined your family’s budget?
These are just a few of the many examples of how math is infused into our everyday lives. And since God is the creator of math and order, the principles of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are also seen throughout Scripture (Davis, 2022)!
“There is an epidemic of children who don't understand fractions, cannot quickly do addition or subtraction mentally, and have no number sense,”
Though this is a subject students are generally least enthused about, it’s one that needs to be addressed with greater urgency, as we are seeing math proficiency decline among students nationwide.
“There is an epidemic of children who don't understand fractions, cannot quickly do addition or subtraction mentally, and have no number sense,” said Laura Beth Hendry, a high school math teacher who has served at CCA for 18 years.
Granted, many students experienced learning losses because of the strains COVID placed on their education; however, these downward trends existed even before the pandemic (Calefati, 2021).
So is all hope lost?
Absolutely not. An upward trajectory is possible if intentional interventions are made by both educators and parents. Parents of young children are especially in a promising position to inspire their children to develop an interest in this subject before negative perceptions and attitudes can form.
An upward trajectory is possible if intentional interventions are made by both educators and parents.
STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) involvement both at school and at home will help students of any age see math as a subject with endless possibilities rather than an intimidating mountain to climb. Math and its applications in the world around us are more dynamic than most people would think!
In the movie School of Rock, the actor Jack Black who impersonates a teacher uses a nontraditional method to engage his students in math. While this is a comical scene, perhaps “Mr. Schneebly” is on to something . . .
Math and its applications in the world around us are more dynamic than most people would think!
CCA SUMMER MATH CHALLENGE
Summer break is a great time for students to hone their math skills. Below are 10 engaging ways your child can think mathematically without even realizing it. Now that’s a parenting win!
Redeem the screen
It’s no secret that kids love their screen time. Downloading apps that help develop math skills in a fun way is an opportunity to meet children where they’re at and deviate away from the “math is boring” stigma. These apps are especially great for road trips! ABCYA.com also has math games for Pre-K–6th grade students that can be played on a laptop or desktop.
Whip up a culinary creation
Students can practice their fractions by baking and cooking. Have your child pick out a recipe from a book or online. Not only will they get to enjoy eating the end result, but the experience also makes for great family quality time. The great part of the challenge is to use only a ¼ cup to complete the entire recipe. Your child can even double or triple a recipe for a greater challenge. Another way to incorporate a treat into a math lesson is with this Skittles probability activity!
For older students: Shop til you drop
With back to school season approaching, you may need to go shopping for new shoes, clothing, and/or supplies. Give your Middle/High School child a budget to stick to and give them cash to pay for their purchases; have them manually keep track of their expenses and deduct them from the total budget they were allotted.
It might be time to dust off Monopoly from your shelf. The “transactions” that are made will prompt your child to add, subtract, and make money-savvy decisions. Your child can also serve as the banker for greater math engagement. The card game War is another good option for children ages 3 and up. You can even organize a paper airplane competition among family/friends and use graphing as a mechanism for comparing distance.
Enroll in a STEM camp
CCA’s Fort Lauderdale Campus offers STEM camps that challenge students to think outside the box, learn about God’s attention to detail, and have a fantastic time with friends! See below for a list of upcoming dates:
Since different shapes are all around us, you can reinforce geometric principles by printing this worksheet that lists shapes that your child needs to find represented in items around your home or neighborhood.
For older students: Plan a road trip
If you have a child in Middle/High School, involve them in planning a family road trip (either a real trip or hypothetical one). This will give him/her the opportunity to calculate mileage, gas costs, and other expenses. Click here for a printout that can serve as a planning guide.
Consider incorporating some STEM-themed books into your child’s library to inspire an interest in mathematics and similar subjects:
The Summer Brain Quest books for various grade levels can also keep your child’s mind engaged in different subjects, including math, while school is out of session.
Stay cool in the heat
Nothing says summer like water balloons! This activity uses water balloons with simple equations written on them that children have to toss into the correct hula hoop target that has the correct sum/difference.
For older students: Start a faux/real business!
Giving your child the opportunity to innovate, earn money, and learn the essentials of business can capture their interest, especially if they’re a fan of the show Shark Tank. Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey sells a Teen Entrepreneur Toolbox designed to talk teens through the process of starting a business and making smart money decisions. You’re never too young to sell a product or service that makes an impact and solves people’s problems!
During the school year, encourage your child to explore math-related programs that are offered at his/her school. For example, Lower School students at Calvary Christian Academy can participate in the ACSI Math Olympics. Upper School students can also participate in STEM electives and clubs that challenge them to think critically and mathematically.
This kind of involvement will prove academically beneficial, even if your child doesn’t plan to pursue a career in this field. But who knows – they just might discover an unknown passion!
By making math a positive experience and showing students ways that their knowledge can be used in service to others, we can capture their minds and hearts.
Click here to print a downloadable version of CCA’s Summer Math Challenge!
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