by Elizabeth D. Cossick. M.Ed.
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- For real-world math practice, cook together! Cooking is one of the most concrete ways to conceptualize fractions. To make it fun, sit down with your children and a stack of cookbooks, and take some time selecting fun recipes together. Let your child measure the ingredients, while you guide them in discussing fractions (“Look! 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup = 1 cup!”) Cooking is also a great lesson in greater-than/less-than and volume.
- For more real-world practice with math, go shopping! Seriously, money is a wonderful way for students to practice counting…and decimals! Count out some money together, and write it in decimal form with your child. Then, go shopping to teach monetary values. (Nothing teaches the value of money faster than good ol’ fashioned capitalism!)
- Keep a family scrapbook/journal of your summertime activities. Keep it simple. Purchase an empty journal or spiral notebook, and then take a photo (or have your child take a photo) of some of the things you do each week (even if it’s just playing at the pool). Print the picture, tape it into the journal, and then have your child write a caption. (Children can dictate the sentence to you if they’re “pre-writing,” or they can write a single sentence or a whole paragraph, depending on age and writing ability.) At the end of the summer, you’ll have a fun keepsake of your many adventures…and your child will have practiced creative writing on multiple topics–without even thinking about it!
- Make reading fun by reading a novel together that has a corresponding movie. Read the book together, and then, to celebrate, roll out some sleeping bags, pop some popcorn, and watch the movie together! Some book titles that have movies: Because of Winn-Dixie, Charlotte’s Web, Holes, Hotel for Dogs, Inkheart, The Chronicles of Narnia.
Summertime is a great opportunity to show students that learning is fun and relevant. You can learn wherever, whenever– it certainly doesn’t take four walls and a textbook!