6 Best Summer Math Activities: How to Stay Smart & Have Fun

Been thinking about some fun summer math activities to add into the day?  Math games and activities shouldn’t be reserved for the classroom. In fact, you can have a ton of educational fun with your children over the summer break.

Best of all?  You don’t need to spend money on fancy games, all of these games can be created with objects you have lying around the house. The great things about these math games is that you can adapt them to any age group, meaning you can play the same game with the whole family!

Fun Summer Math Activities

1. Shape Twister

The good thing about this game is that it has the potential to entertain children for hours. The game is played much like the traditional game of Twister, but uses basic mathematical shapes. You can prepare the game yourself or get children to help you (thus keeping them busy for even longer). This is how you do it:

  • Draw large basic shapes on paper, colored or plain is fine – the focus is on shapes. You will need four of each of the six shapes (these can vary depending on knowledge, but some good ideas are square, circle, triangle, diamond, pentagon and rectangle).
  • Arrange the pieces of paper together to create a playing surface.
  • Create a spinning board. Using some strong cardboard, divide it into four sections (one for each hand and each foot).
  • In each segment draw each shape. These must be in circle formation so the spinner can definitively point to a shape. Use another piece of strong cardboard to cut an arrow shape. Fasten it to the board at the center with a paper fastener.
  • Play! Children take it in turns to play and to be the spinner. The spinner reads the instruction aloud for the players to follow, for example, ‘right hand on square’.
  • The winner is the player who doesn’t fall over!

2. Memory Matching Game

Help children improve their recognition, matchmaking and memory skills with this homemade memory game. Start by taking some photos of various objects and people. Print out the photos, ensuring you have double of each image. Glue the photos onto card or have them laminated.

How to play:

  • Shuffle the cards (the photos) and lay them face down in a grid pattern – no peeking!
  • Players take it in turns to flip over two cards. If they match, they keep the pair and have another turn. If not, they flip the cards back over and it is the next player’s turn.
  • Keep playing until all cards have been paired up and the player with the most pairs wins!

3. Bottle Toss

This game is just like many games you see at carnivals!

  • Collect a bunch of bottles and fill them with water to make them more stable. Write different numbers on each of the lids – vary these depending on your child’s ability and whether you are focusing on addition or multiplication.
  • Cluster the bottles together and use plastic rings, perhaps bangles, to toss over the top of the bottles. Give children a challenge such as ‘add to 20’ or ‘multiply to 60’.
  • Children aim at various numbers to create a successful equation.
  • The first person to achieve the challenge wins!

4. Pitch, Hit and Graph

Enjoy the outdoors with your kids and have some educational fun! This activity is geared towards baseball, but you could adapt it to any sport you like. It can be played with any number of people, but the more people you have the more more data you will get, creating more graphing options. This makes a great challenge for older children.

  • Set up distance targets and pitch the ball to your kid. For each hit, record the distance using pen and paper.
  • Convert the data to a graph – try line graphs, bar graphs and pie charts.
  • Don’t forget to have your child pitch to you and record you scores!

5. Mathematical Tic-Tac-Toe

Turn this classic game into a educational math activity.

  • Use nine squares of paper for the tic-tac-toe grid. Write several math problems or equations on the squares and arrange in a grid pattern face down.
  • Each player has their own small stack of cards, or paper, with either an ‘X’ or an ‘O’. They take it in turns to flip the paper in the grid, choose a problem and answer it. If answered correctly, they replace the piece of paper with their own, thus placing and ‘X’ or an ‘O’ in its place.
  • The aim is to create three successful sheets in a row!

6. Playing Card Math

Everyone has a deck of cards lying around, so dig them out and play this math game.

  • Remove the King, Queen, Jack and Joker cards, and explain that ace cards are equal to one.
  • Shuffle the remaining cards and then place nine cards in a 3×3 grid pattern.
  • Ask you child to look for any combination of cards that add up to a particular number. Once they have identified the cards remove them, and replace them with new cards from the pack. If no combinations are available, remove all nine and replace them. Keep playing until the deck is complete.
  • For older children, give them a number and allow them to reach it using any way possible. For example, to reach six they might use 3×4-5-1 to get rid of as many cards as possible.
  • Make it a two player game and have the children alternate turns, the person who collects the most cards is the winner.

Games are great ways to get kids working their brains, decreasing summer learning loss and staying on top of all that they learned in school.  In addition, by playing some summer math activities together you accomplish a few things without anyone noticing. First, you’re having family or togetherness time.  Secondly, you’re just having plain ‘ole fun!  Remember that term?  The older we get the more we forget it. 😉  And finally, Your kids are able to work on their math skills without realizing it.  Finding practical applications and fun with a few of these summer math activities is a great and easy way to do it!

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