Summer Math Activities for Big Kids

You want your kid to stay engaged with math learning, but without boring them to tears! Or maybe you are teaching summer school, so you’re looking for fun math ideas. This post shares super simple and fun summer math activities for big kids. Each upper elementary math activity is easy to implement with lots of learning included.

Plus you can grab some FREE math riddles for your kiddos to enjoy this summer!

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Why Do Big Kids Even Need Summer Math Activities?

Even though the “summer slide” sounds like a new fun water feature at a theme park, there’s nothing fun about it.

And it’s definitely not the latest dance craze either!

Scholastic reports that 3rd through 5th grade students lose up to 20% of the math skills they gained during the school year when they don’t practice during the summer.

And this was pre-pandemic.

Students in upper elementary learn more complex math concepts as they progress, so keeping up is critical.

This is why they need engaging summer math activities! And we have them for you here.

1-Have Fun with Math Riddles

The first way to keep your big kids excited about math practice for the summer involves a few riddles!

Over the years, I’ve enjoyed combining critical thinking practice with riddles to make math more fun.

promoting critical thinking with math riddles
Can you solve the math riddle?

Math riddles also combine reading with math making them even more of a win-win.

Students read each riddle to solve the equation. Sometimes they will use math skills such as multiplication and place value to get each answer.

You can enter your email address to try these interesting riddles with your kid this summer:

2-Read Math Related Books

Speaking of combining reading with math, you can also pull out those math-themed read alouds for upper elementary students.

Books that teach math concepts keep kids acquainted with math lessons.

By reading silly or funny stories related to things like fractions or geometry, your kids are reintroduced to these ideas in a fun way.

A math chapter book series for big kids that I highly recommend is Daniel Kennedy’s Math Inspectors.

These hilarious mystery books include math riddles, puzzles, and problems that help solve each case.

The best part in my opinion is that your kids get to practice their reading and math at the same time with any math reading book this summer.

3-Summer Math Games for Big Kids

Not only can your kids enjoy math riddles and books, but go ahead and enjoy some math games too!

Hands-on math games are the best in my opinion. After all, you want summer learning to be fun.

These matching math games can be completed with a partner or independently. This allows you to use them flexibly with your summer plans.

Just imagine the confidence your kid will have when he or she returns to school knowing all their math facts!

Big kids need to know their basic facts in order to master more complex math problems later.

That’s what these math games help them achieve! The best part is that they cover every skill area:

  • Addition
  • Subtraction
  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Fractions
  • Decimals

To see more details about them, check out this full page that gives more videos and ideas for how to use these math games this summer.

4-Card Games and Dominoes for Summer Math Practice

When it comes to using what you may already have at home, card games and dominoes make excellent summer math activities for big kids.

Cards games such as:

  • Addition quick draw
  • Hi / Low
  • Nifty 50
  • Race to 100
  • Card Tower
  • Go Fish Matching

…are just some of the games kids can play that make summer math learning fun. Kid Pillar has this blog post with 18 card games with simple to follow instructions and pictures for each game.

Dominoes can be used to reinforce rounding, decimals, place value and more. If you want some detail instructions for games like Domino War, Fraction War, and Domino Sort, The Teacher Next Door has you covered in her post here.

5-Simple But Effective Math Worksheets

Even though worksheets seem bland next to card games and dominoes, there is a time and place for engaging math review on paper.

Depending on your summer vacation plans, you may not be able to haul around lots of games with pieces.

These occasions make worksheets appropriate.

But there’s a catch! The math worksheets will work best when they have a summer theme or other interesting features that big kids will enjoy.

That’s why I designed these math review worksheets! They are aligned to grade level standards with fun elements for student enjoyment.

Plus, they are simple enough for kids to complete independently.

6-Turn Every Day Real Life Events Into Math Lessons

Every math lesson doesn’t require extra materials or ample time to complete.

You can turn every day, real life situations into engaging summer math activities for big kids.

For example, have your kids gather up all the spare change around the house or dump all the money out of their piggy banks. Then have them count it all up.

You can extend the lesson by asking them to write the amounts with a cents sign and a dollar sign.

Another every day money activity also involves meal prep. Have your kids “shop” a local grocery store ad with a budget amount.

They must plan breakfast, lunch, and dinner combinations using the budgeted amount you tell them.

As they shop the grocery store ad, they must add, subtract, multiply, divide, and calculate percentages in order to complete their pretend grocery order.

These scenarios connect kids to ways math is used in every day life, which shows them why math is so important.

7-Make Summer Learning Fun with Math Board Games

Last, but not least are those high math game boards for summer fun!

These are the kind of activities the whole family can enjoy. Or your kids can gather with friends to play game boards with a math twist.

Here are other ways to add in fun math game boards:

  • during free time at summer camp
  • set up several tables of different game boards for a summer party
  • at a camping vacation (without any devices!)

If you need recommendations, these options give you a good head start–

More Ways to Make Summer Learning Fun

Math is essential for student success. But so if reading, writing, and other learning they’ve gained through the school year.

Prevent the summer slide in every area with more summer learning tips from these:

Not only that, but don’t forget your free math riddles:

Happy summer math teaching and learning ☀️ 🏖️

The Butterfly Teacher

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