As the end of the school year approaches, many families are busy preparing for Summer. We thought we'd put together a list of some practical tips to help with numeracy, besides just counting the days until it's time to go back to school.
Summer ushers in many delights, many of which are new adventures, like road trips or frequent visits to the farmer's market. Families sometimes visit baseball diamonds and meet up with friends at outdoor picnics. These are all great opportunities to put math to work.
What are some of the practical things that you can do to help continue the numeracy that was started at school? While we don't recommend worksheets, as they primarily focus on rote memorization, we do recommend real world math type activities.
Here's what we mean:
Let's say that you're headed on a road trip. Try some interactive and engaging games that focus on counting. For example, "Let's identify the numbers on license plates." Or, perhaps you have a certain exit you need to reach. Turning to your daughter, you ask, "Can you help me find exit number 77? It'll be coming up soon." From the picture above, "How many yellow vehicles are there? Let's count." This is the type of language we use, helping our students discover the answer for themselves.
"Son, can you help me count the red cards on the trip today?" Or, perhaps when you stop at the rest stop, you can assign your child a task, giving them responsibility and confidence, "Can you count to make sure all of the suitcases are here?" There are so many marvelous chances to engage math on a daily basis and summer is the perfect time to learn.
Let's switch gears, just a bit, to provide you with some more concrete examples. Picture another beloved Summer activity: the farmer's market. (Well, at least in South Dakota!) Environments like this are the perfect opportunity to put numeracy to work. You'll notice from the picture above, the floating market in Thailand. It's alive with the hustle and bustle of interactions and occasions.
Floating around, (or walking around!), exploring the vendors, you can challenge your child to help. As a matter of fact, you can empower them with a bit of support: "We're looking for Summer squash. Can you help me find three of them? I hear the radishes are delicious. Should we take five of them home?"
Additionally, the floating market no less than the farmer's market is a terrific setting to have your child be in charge of the money. They can help pay the vendors for their goods, counting the bills that are needed. "Can you hand the gentleman four of these?" These types of environments provide the space for children to engage with the real world, without the pressures of standing in line at a grocery store.
Summer is just around the corner. We hope you enjoy! Wait, how many days left until school starts again?!