We’ve got a return guest blogger for you today, so please welcome Mary from NewMathTeacher back to Minds in Bloom! She’s got a great post about preventing summer slide for you.
Looking for ways to encourage summer learning? Help parents prevent summer slide, the tendency for children to lose achievement gains, by building curiosity and exploration into summer plans. To feel successful children need ongoing opportunities to learn and to practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months. Summer presents a great opportunity for creative and innovative learning activities that are not necessarily covered in school. During summer children can explore new and exciting concepts while learning at their own pace. With school pressures on hold, summer could be the season to discover how fun learning can be!
Summer learning can happen in a multitude of places. Enriching experiences can be found through summer camps, time with family, and trips to museums, parks, and libraries. Here are some simple ways to incorporate summer learning into your everyday environment while you participate in some of these wonderful summer activities.
What Can Parents Do to Support Summer Reading?
Read, read, read! Make sure that everyone in your family has access to books that interest them. Choose books that are at the right reading level for your child. Books should be age-appropriate, and topics should be interesting to your child. Let children choose some of these books to read. Local libraries are great places to pick up summer reading lists by grade level or topic of interest.
Children should be reading every day. Give them the comics section while you read the rest of the newspaper. Let them choose a cookbook recipe and cook together. Build a nighttime routine that involves reading aloud. Takes turns reading aloud to improve listening comprehension. Reread favorite books to promote fluency. Review challenging vocabulary that you come across.
While reading (and singing) together, families can also promote mathematical thinking. Many children’s books deal with numbers and counting, such as Chicka Chicka 123, Zero, and One. Songs like “Five Little Monkeys,” “Five Green and Speckled Frogs,” and “Five Little Ducks” develop basic counting skills. Repetitive songs like “The Wheels on the Bus,” “Old McDonald,” or “BINGO,” and repetitive stories like Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? form patterns that develop algebraic thinking.
What Can Parents Do to Support Summer Math Learning?
Math learning grows naturally when children are enthusiastic and curious about their environment. Keep the learning fun, and make mathematical learning a part of your family’s everyday routines.
Play games with your child. So many games that parents play with their kids promote number sense: board games with spinners or dice, dominoes, number blocks, and cards or puzzles with numbers are but a few. A great way to practice comparing measurements is to create a game. Children find objects around the house, yard, or playground that are “shorter than,” “larger than,” or “heavier than” a given object.
Baking, sewing, gardening, grocery shopping, and mailing packages all involve measurement, as well. Visits to the dentist or doctor are also great times to talk about measurements. Demonstrate how to use a scale to measure weight, a yardstick to measure height, and a thermometer to measure temperature.
Parents can incorporate many different tactile manipulatives to practice algebraic thinking. Grab some coins and group all the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. Throw a lemonade sale and let children count out change for customers. Use different colors of beads to create a pattern. Collect leaves on a nature hike and sort by shape, size, or color. Build three dimensional figures with Lego™ blocks. Vary the volume of sound with shakers and cymbals (loud-soft-soft, loud-soft-soft) or use different sounds (shake-ring-crash, shake-ring-crash) to create a pattern. Clapping or jumping out patterns is a fun way to burn off energy, too.
Traffic signs are a creative way to incorporate geometry while on a drive. Parents can point out signs and say, “Hey, check out that yellow sign. What shape is it?” or “We’re at a red stop sign. How many sides does it have? Yes, an eight-sided shape is called an octagon. Do you see any more stop signs?” The game I Spy encourages shape recognition, as well. Children search for objects around the house, yard, or playground that are all of a certain shape. While finding objects, use spatial words to explain position and direction, such as, “That circle clock is right behind you,” “The rectangular book is on the bed,” or “The diamond kite is under the table.”
To develop a mathematical mindset, parents should ask lots of “how” questions related to common situations: How many more place mats do we need around the table? How can we divide these peas equally among the three of you? Estimate how many spoonfuls it will take to finish your bowl of cheerios. Children need to be encouraged to think. Parents can think aloud, model solutions, listen to children’s thoughts, and guide children through problem solving techniques.
Use these simple reading and math tips to build enthusiasm and curiosity into your child’s learning this summer. Start the next school year successfully while gaining long-lasting confidence and a love of learning along the way. Have a great summer!
Visit our STEM Learning blog to find more ways for parents to promote learning.
Adaptation of Summer Reading 5 photo by KOMUnews. Copyright 2009. Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
Adaptation of Cause and Effect – OOPS photo by swong95765. Copyright 2014. Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
Adaptation of Child Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand photo by Steven Depolo. Copyright 2011. Attribution 2.0 Generic License.
Mary Dournaee is a math educator, curriculum developer, blogger for NewMathTeacher, and contributor for Teachers Pay Teachers. Mary is a passionate lifelong learner who loves to grow that passion in others, as well. She aspires to post creative and engaging ideas about math education and learning. Visit her TpT store or follow her on Facebook and Twitter for more ways to promote math learning in the classroom.