Keeping children’s maths learning going over the summer holidays can feel like an additional pressure for parents.
A study by researchers at the University of Missouri shows that on average, pupils lose about 2.6 months of maths learning over the summer months and teachers complain that they must start many topics again due to this lost ground.
Encouraging children to continue learning over the summer does not need to be a chore. It can be simple, effective and fun.
Download educational games/applications for those long journeys! Whether you’re taking a road trip or flying across the world, downloading educational applications onto your child’s iPad/smartphone can really sharpen their arithmetic skills.
Here are some recommendations (all available from the PlayStore):
Multiplication Tables Game
This is a simple app where children are up against the clock to get the most answers correct. Some levels are locked so you need to gain enough points in order to get to the next level. Children will love the competitive nature of the game and I’m sure it’ll keep them busy for at least some of the journey.
Primary School Maths UK
I love this app because it allows children to choose and take control of their learning. Topics include time, numbers, division, geometry and a whole lot more! The colourful graphics, sound effects and cartoon-like videos make it a lot of fun!
Numbers and Maths for Kids
This is perfect for the younger ones! This app allows them to practise simple counting (with online concrete materials), includes finding and recognising number patterns and gives them access to a range of simple pictorial maths problems.
Use everyday life to contribute to your child’s learning and play games using maths as you go about your daily routine. You will find all sorts of games that you can play together.
This one is really fun and super simple and it requires no real planning!
A trip to the supermarket? Make it about maths. One loose banana costs 13p so how many bananas can I buy with £1.00? Ask your child/children to guess. The visual representation of the items will also aid their learning. When you get home, ask your child to count out £1.00 in smaller coins. How many 13p amounts fit into £1.00? What if I only wanted to buy 5 bananas? How much change would I receive from £1.00?
There are so many ways of getting your child excited and learning at the same time. This sort of dialogue can be practised anywhere, for example, while having ice-creams on the beach, when buying cinema tickets, during strawberry picking.
Remind them of what they know.
At the school where I work, we send our Maths — No Problem! workbooks home over the holidays for parents to see what their children have been doing. Once you have skimmed through and seen what has been covered, it is so much easier to work with them so that they don’t forget what they have learnt. Pick one or two questions daily (15–20 minutes) and ask your child to answer them with you, showing and explaining the multiple methods to work out a certain equation. Praise your child for doing so and don’t let them forget that success is something they need to work hard for (you win through struggle!). This will hopefully help keep them in gear for September.
Meet those targets before September.
Naturally every child has targets to focus on for the following year, be it learning their multiplication tables or reading more challenging books. Focus on those throughout the summer. If your child has struggled with number equations, get out that workbook and look online at the programme to see what you can do to aid them further. One-to-one time with a child is so precious and effective, even if you spend half an hour with your child completing one question together, you have made a difference!