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Math Games Keep Kids Smart Over Summer Break

Summer slide, also called summer learning loss, is real. All students experience some type of learning loss if they do not engage in educational activities during the summer, says Ron Fairchild, CEO of the National Summer Learning Association (

Most elementary students lose about two months of grade-level learning in mathematical skills over the summer. “If a third-grader learns a math skill in May and doesn’t practice it for two months, she will probably lose it. Her fourth-grade teacher will have to reteach that skill in the fall.”

You don’t need to be a teacher to help your children stay smart during the summer. “You just need to carve out time each day for playful learning activities that tap kids’ curiosity”, says an article in the Detroit Free Press.

Parents often get caught up in having their child do math workbook pages from some expensive book that they order or buy from a teacher store. Just give them authentic, real world experiences where learning can take place naturally. Math games are much more appropriate and engaging than workbooks, dittos, or even flashcards.

Children throw themselves into playing games the way they never throw themselves into filling out workbook pages or dittos. And games can help children learn almost everything they need to master or practice in elementary math. Good, child-centered games are designed to take the boredom and frustration out of the repetitive practice necessary for children to master important math skills and concepts.

Playing math games is even more beneficial than spending the same amount of time drilling basic facts using flash cards. Not only are games a lot more fun, but the potential for learning and reasoning about mathematics is much greater, as well. In a non-threatening game format, children will be more focused and retention will be greater.

Math games for kids and families are the perfect way to reinforce, sharpen, and extend math skills over the summer. They are one of the most effective ways that parents can develop their child’s math skills without lecturing or applying pressure. When studying math, there’s an element of repetition that’s an important part of learning new concepts and developing automatic recall of math facts. Number facts (remember those times tables?) can be boring and tedious to learn and practice. A game can generate an enormous amount of practice – practice that does not have kids complaining about how much work they are having to do. What better way can there be than an interesting game as a way of mastering them?

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