Keeping Math Skills Sharp in the Summer: The Fun Way!

Summer reading gets much publicity, but summer slide affects students’ number skills as well. Keeping those number skills sharp is important, but no one expects parents to give math lessons during the summer. That would not be fun for most families!

Here are a few quick ideas on what you can do with your children to keep their number sense sharp and have fun.

Before we move on to the tips, look here to see what skills each grade level works on. Summer work should be at the right level for your child, not too challenging and not too easy. This is just a guide as you know your child best.

The above link is to a free online program called Khan Academy. The page the above link will take you to lists the skills each grade level should be working on. For an on-grade-level student, work on skills from the year past. For above-grade-level students, you can work on skills for the next year’s grade level. For students who are behind, work where they need it.

In addition to using Khan Academy to learn about the skills right for your child, your children can also create an account and do actual math work. This program makes it like a game and gives students badges and awards for completing certain levels and tasks.

Using Khan Academy is great for students. It is aligned to the Common Core, but not all students are going to want to do online math, even if it is gamified.

So another way to use this site is to look at the skills you have decided to work on and structure play or conversation around those skills, subtly.


  • During snack time, ask them to count how many Fishies or Cheerios they have (or whatever they are eating).

  • Take one piece away and ask them to count again

  • During playtime, do the same above with their Legos or Matchboxes

First Grade

  • During snack time, make 2 piles of Fishies. Ask them to count each pile. They ask them to count all of the Fishies (this is addition).

  • Or ask them to count all of the Fishies and then have them eat some (counting as they eat). Then they can count the remaining pile. (this is subtraction

  • During playtime, ask them about the shape of things. When they say square or circle, ask how they know that (it has 4 sides that are the same, there are no corners…)

  • During playtime, ask them