Summer Math Strategies for Your K-3rd Grader

The weather is great, there’s hardly a cloud in the sky, the pool is calling, the mountains are beckoning—it must be summer in Northern Colorado. One of the best times of year, summer offers so much for families to enjoy. However, there’s a shadow cast from summer, and it’s not just from the extended periods of sun.

The summer slide is the fear of all teachers, because it accounts for so much learning loss in such a short period of time. One statistic as reported by the CDE reported that children can fall behind “an average of 2 months in reading during the summer.” While the slide is often most reported for reading, as well as for low-income families, the nature of the summer slide can be applicable to all.

Learning is a continual process, and like anything we want to excel in, we need to have consistent practice to maintain achievement and success. Resurrection Christian School is determined to help all students succeed, regardless of when school is in session. Take a look at some ways to help your younger elementary student continue their math skills over the summer in order to start the school year off right!

Math Fact Fun

Third grade is when multiplication concepts begin, and in order to be successful with this mathematical step, students need to have a solid foundation with addition and subtraction first. For younger children, give kids math problems in the form of physical objects for them to run around and find. As an example, say “I need 6 pinecones plus 4 rocks,” or have kids race to find 12 sticks around the yard, and use chalk to create math equations.

For a second or third grader, write a number 0-9 on a rock, and repeat the process for about 10 rocks. Have kids draw rocks out of a bag to create 2-digit or 3-digit addition and subtraction problems. Encourage them to use sidewalk chalk for increased fun!

Summer Skip Counting

Skip counting is not only a great strategy to have (imagine any scenario where you as an adult have counted off by twos, for example), it is an excellent precursor to multiplication. Create hopscotch boards with different skip counting patterns, starting with 1s and 2s for your younger kids. Have them practice saying (or shouting!) the number as they play hopscotch.

Third graders (and possibly some second graders) will be able to create their own boards, and you can challenge them to go by other numbers. Teach them the 5s and 10s before diving into other numbers like 4s or 7s. This will be beneficial not only because 5s and 10s follow an easier pattern, but they are more commonly used in the real world in terms of skip counting.

For an added bonus, encourage your kids to use different voices when saying their skip counting. Try voices like whisper, giant, underwater, ninja, musical, and more! You’ll love how creative they are, and that they’ll be working on math in the process!

Math Scavenger Hunt

What kid doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Hide numbers around the house or yard (either on pieces of paper, or write them onto rocks with chalk) in a manner where kids can grab them and bring them back. For kindergarteners, write the numbers 1-20 to encourage them finding 20 numbers, then putting them into the correct order. Even if your child is younger or is still working on counting to 20, this will be great practice! The more they try it, the more they’ll get faster at counting (make sure to have them practice saying them aloud as well!)

For older kids, give them equations on a sheet to work as a map or guideline. Make sure they’re at a developmentally appropriate level, so that your child does not grow frustrated. You want them to have fun, while learning and practicing their skills at the same time. This is less about gaining new knowledge, and more about honing the math knowledge they already have.

Up the ante by giving a clue to a “bonus number” at the end of the scavenger hunt, and include some kind of reward if they make it that far. Maybe on the back of the number it says “Popsicles for everyone!” or something simple, but fun. Want a further challenge? Take the counting steps, but have them practice their numbers in Spanish or another language!

Summer is full of free time and a break that is always much needed and deserved. During the break, however, it’s crucial to make sure your child is not sliding back from all the academic progress they made throughout the year. Math can and should be fun, and these summer activities are designed to help with math practice, as well as enjoy learning. Kids at this age simply love to learn, and you might be surprised with how eager they are to continue growing in their math skills. Practice with these games all summer, and contact RCS for any enrollment questions you may have.