Topic Sheet - Fun Math Activities for Parents to Prevent the Summer Slide

Tips and ideas for parents with young children (PreK-6) to practice math, boost skills, AND have fun

For stories on the Summer Slide, math education experts at ORIGO Education have compiled a list of activities and resources for parents to do with their young children.​

The Summer Slide is a very real issue, especially in mathematics instruction where students lose an average of 2.6 months of learning.


From Debi DePaul, elementary mathematics consultant from ORIGO Education

  • “Summer is an ideal time to mix fun with learning. Parents can mix up math in the kitchen, on the sidewalk, even at the beach!”
  • “All children, but especially young children, need to keep practicing math in summer. But, this practice time should be fun!”
  • “Parents can turn playtime into learning time with some simple tweaks on the classic games and toys.”
  • “The best math activities involve using multiple senses like smell and touch. This multisensory play time cements deeper understanding of fundamental math skills like recognizing proportions, estimation skills, measurement skills, and number sense.”

Photos and Videos

  1. These bright (and short) videos can help parents and are great visual embeds for articles: ORIGO 1 YouTube channel
  2. See photos below


Measure & Cook

  1. Kid-friendly recipes teach kids about volume and measurement. Math skills are reinforced when kids need to find the proper measurements for liquid and dry ingredients. Additional challenge: double a recipe or divide a recipe in half.
  2. Fill up a large bucket of water and ask kids to measure into another bucket using volume measurements.
  3. Read the label to determine the number of ounces that are in a juice or milk container. Calculate how many 5 oz. cups can be poured. Change to 6 oz., 8 oz. and so on.

Chalk-up Math Sidewalk chalk games and art provide fun opportunities to count and learn about shapes and sizes.

  1. Draw a normal hopscotch board. Place numbers in each square based on the challenge.
    1. Basic addition - Hop through the squares and add up the numbers along the way.
    2. Skip count by 2 - Place odd numbers on the board to make it harder.
    3. Multiple by 5s. - Place in wrong numbers as a challenge.
  2. Draw a number line 0-20. Start at 0. Draw number cards or roll a dice and add to move forward to the correct number. Winner must land directly on 20 without going over 20. Example: If on 17 and a 4 is rolled, don’t move. Wait for the correct count to land exactly on 20. Make it harder by mixing in subtraction.
  3. Draw shapes on the sidewalk. Depending on their age, ask child to: identify the shape, find the perimeter, find the area, calculate the volume (3 dimensional)

Measure & Graph Garden

  1. Choose 3-4 different types of flower seeds and plant them in the ground or in planters. Label the seeds. Make a chart and label with type of flower, date and measurement. As each seed starts to sprout, record the date and measure the sprout. Continue measuring until all seeds have sprouted and the first flower blooms from each type of seed. Answer questions like: Which seed sprouted first? Last? How much taller was the first sprout compared to the last sprout? Draw a bar graph using the date collected.

Coin Count

  1. Guessing Jar - Guess the number of coins in the jar
  2. Coin Toss - Take coins out of jar. Each player tries to toss 10 coins in the jar. Any coins that go out of the jar are given to the next player. Continue until all coins are tossed. Players add up the coins collected from the missed throws. Easy – add the total number of coins. More difficult – add the value of the coins.
  3. Hide and Seek - Take coins and hide them. Kids seek the coins and count their finds to see who has the most. Easy – add the total number of coins. More difficult – add the value of the coins.

Additional Ideas 

  1. Download the ORIGO EducationNum Fu apps in addition, subtraction, multiplication or division for free on the App Store.
  2. Sort, Count and Stack Legos - Sort Legos by color or shape. Stack and measure height of different Lego stacks.
  3. mix and Match Buttons – Group buttons by color. Make piles of 5 and 10 and add.
  4. Grocery Store – Make lists with quantities needed. Count and subtract from a list as items are added to the cart.
  5. Egg Carton – Mark egg carton slots 1-12. Insert two marbles, close the lid and shake. Open and add the two numbers together wherever the marbles land. Numbers can also be multiplied or subtracted.
  6. Tell time using a clock with hands.
  7. Practice adding and subtracting with Monopoly money.
  8. Use different shaped geometric shaped cookie cutters to cut and make patterns in Play-doh
  9. Sculpt 3-dimensional shapes
  10. License Plate road games: Add up total numbers or closest to a target number
  11. Play card games like Blackjack
  12. Count dots on a group of Dominos and add, match dots on groups of 2s, 3s and so on
  13. Play Cribbage
  14. Visit a museum and create number- or shape-themed scavenger hunts

Additional References

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