The Joy of Teaching – An Evan-Moor Blog

Sharing creative ideas and lessons to help children learn

How to Prevent Math Summer Learning Loss


Summer learning loss, also referred to as the summer slide, is a fact. While reading tends to be a focus over the summer, it is actually math skills that are often lost over the summer break. “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.” (Cooper, 1996)

There are helpful, and often free, resources to help parents provide their children with math skill practice over the summer, without feeling overburdened or taking away from fun summer activities. By incorporating the following activities and resources into summer break, you can help your child prevent the summer slide:

Play Gamesshutterstock_2532978

Just because you’re practicing math doesn’t mean it has to be boring! Games like Mancala or Triangle are great ways to practice basic math. They’re also easy to travel with, so pack them in a picnic basket or travel bag. Or, get out a deck of cards and play math games like addition or subtraction war. Or try this pairs game using buttons or items around the house: Game of Nim.


shutterstock_46444225Cook Together

Cooking is a great way to practice math. By scaling the recipe, children can practice their multiplication, or use smaller measurements to ask more basic questions like: “How many ½ cups will we need to make 2 whole cups?”


MathSkill Sharpener's Math Book Cover practice books

Skill Sharpeners: Math activity books are available at different grade levels (grades PreK–6) with quick and fun activities that are perfect for practicing math skills.

Helpful hint: If your child needs extra encouragement, try using a math log. Similar to a reading log, you’ll add a mark to keep track of every page of math your child completes. After he or she reaches a feasible and predetermined amount, reward your child with a special activity.

Math Stories

Taking turns telling stories is perfect for keeping children engaged. Include math in this activity by filling in the blank in phrases such as: “When Sally counted her cookies, one was missing. She only had…”

Learning about Money activity bookbook cover image of Learning Line activity books

This Learning Line activity book highlights money as a way to practice math every day. As additional practice for hands-on learning, use real coins.

Helpful hint: Set up a toy cash register and play “store” with change. Have your child be the cashier to practice addition and subtraction with double-digit numbers.

Online flashcards

Evan-Moor is also offering free online flashcards to engage your child in practicing basic math skills. Use these links to access Evan-Moor online activities: Addition and Subtraction Facts to 10 and Multiplication Facts to 9s.

Contributing Writer

contributor-trisha-smallTrisha Thomas is the mother of two and serves on the board of directors at a co-op preschool. She has also been a marketer of educational materials for grades PreK–8 for more than 15 years.

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