Fun Ways to Boost Your Child’s Math Skills This Summer (and Beyond)

July 23, 2013

Research shows that there is an approximate 2 month loss of math skills for most all kids over the summer when they don’t practice and use math.  There are many ways to prevent this “summer slide”  and boost your child’s skills through math games, motivating ways to practice, and activities that involve “real life application” of math during the summer.


Math Games and Puzzles


My blog entitled  “Fun and Free Interactive Online Math Games” shared some of the free educational online math sites that I recommend.  These games are a very motivating way for kids to be mathematically engaged and challenged.  Besides those three websites I featured in the blog  (FunBrain, Math-Play, and CoolMath4Kids), here are some additional ones that are worthwhile exploring:   Sheppard Software, Fuel the Brain, Turtle Diary, Mr. Nussbaum, Math Cats,  and PBS Kids.



Although there are so many math games that can be played via computer, tablet, or iPhone,  I don’t think anything can replace the face-to-face interaction of board games, card games, and dice games. 



Traditional board games, such as: Monopoly, Dominos, Trouble, Mastermind, Othello, Chess, Uno, Battleship), Card games (e.g.,  Crazy 8s, Rummy, War), and any games with dice –  are great for sharpening a host of skills ( e.g., problem-solving. logic/deductive reasoning, sequencing, spatial relations, mental math, counting, arithmetic) while having fun.  Playing such games can strengthen concentration, sustained focus,  rule-following, cooperation, and social skills (e.g., taking turns, sportsmanship).  Have your child be the scorekeeper or banker when possible (or share the role).

There are so many board games besides these “oldies but goodies” I mention above.  You may want to check out this list of “best board games for all ages”  by  that includes the newer games on the market that you may not be familiar to you.

Check these two links, as well,  from my daughter-in-law’s blogs on Teacher Resources for Parents for some great card and dice games for building math skills:

Family Fun Math Card and Dice Game  

A Fun Basic  Math Game with a Couple Decks of Cards – describing the game “Math War” and its variations (Basic War, Addition War, Advanced Addition War, Subtraction War, Place Value War, and Product War).




There are different math puzzles that may motivate your child.   Sudoku, for example, is a very popular number-based logic problem-solving puzzle.  Jigsaw puzzles are great for building spatial awareness, attention to details, and other skills that have math benefits.  Cool Math 4 Kids   has lots of math puzzles and “brain benders” for kids of all ages on their free website.


Online Math Programs (not games) for Learning and Practicing Math Skills


IXL  for students K-8 is a math-practice website with unlimited practice questions on hundreds of topics for each grade level. The questions also adapt to your child’s ability, increasing in difficulty as they improve. The system measures how much time your child spends on any particular skill once they complete a skill

AAA Math is a free site for thousands of interactive arithmetic lessons for kids K-8th grades. Unlimited practice is available on each topic. Immediate feedback prevents practicing and learning incorrect methods.

Mathletics  A motivating online math program for homes and schools.

Dreambox Learning Math combines a rigorous math curriculum with fun online lessons that adjust to the way your child learns.

Webmath  is a math-help web site that generates answers to specific math questions and problems, as entered by a user, at any particular moment. The math answers are generated and displayed real-time, at the moment a web user types in their math problem and clicks “solve.” In addition to the answers, Webmath also shows the student how to arrive at the answer.


Real Life Math Applications




There are so many ways that everyday activities are opportunities to use and strengthen math skills.


We have a list of 80 activities  found  in our book How to Reach & Teach All Children in the Inclusive Classroom, 2nd Edition, by S. Rief & J. Heimburge.    Here are 8 examples from our book:





 I have a bunch of great math strategies and activities for kids of all ages posted on my Pinterest board.   Parents and teachers will find a lot of motivating and fun math activities here



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