Whether you are trying to keep your kids quick on their feet with summer learning opportunities or you just want them to be sharp as tacks when it comes to everyday math situations, there are several ways to keep kids practicing their arithmetic when school isn’t in session.
Here are four situations you can use to start making it happen.
- Have your child make her own budget.
If your child receives an allowance, help her create a weekly or monthly budget of how that money can or should be spent. Include requirements for saving to teach her smart money habits, as well as categories such as school lunches, snacks, entertainment, and “wants.”
This will both teach your child how to stretch out her money as much as possible and how to save up for what she wants. It also involves basic math knowledge, such as addition, subtraction, and some multiplication.
- Only buy sale or reduced-price items if he can calculate the sales percentages.
So that video game is 15 percent off–but can your child tell you how much it will cost before sales tax? If your child wants something on sale, make him figure out how much he would save with the sale price.
You can do this in both directions. If an item is $14.99 and it was $20, what percentage of the price has dropped? If your child can tell you correctly, he can have the toy!
- Have them figure out the tip when you dine out.
Another way to keep your child’s percentage calculation skills up to par is by letting her or him calculate the tip at restaurants. Your child can help decide if the service was worth 15, 18, or 20 percent, and then figure out how much that percentage adds to the final bill.
This can be done on paper–like the back of the customer copy of the receipt–at first, and later on in the child’s head.
- Make cooking and baking more technical with measurement math.
Baking a cake or cooking a casserole? Involve your child in the process and make math the main event.
Adding measuring spoons of different sizes to get odd measurements, mixing in extra spices, or even doubling a recipe can be great ways to have your child add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions and whole numbers.
To keep the numbers game strong, ask questions like, “How many cups would it be if we doubled this 2/3 cups of sugar” or “How much cream would we need if we only made a half batch?”
By following simple tips like these, you can start making a concerted effort to ensure that math is an obvious part of your child’s life every day. Depending on the child’s age, you can add in other math tasks over time–like balancing a checkbook, calculating gas mileage, measuring materials for crafts and household projects, and so on!