## Outdoor Number Line Activity

It’s spring and it’s time to get outside and learn! This sidewalk chalk number line activity is great because it uses almost no materials and you can use it however your child needs to. My son used the line as a place to show his answers but didn’t use it as a manipulative itself, and my daughter used it to count by 5 with help. Your child may like the line as a guide to figure out the equations or as a way to show their answers to mental math like my son. Use it for whatever math goal you are working on.

Gather your materials. You will need a sidewalk or road, sidewalk chalk, some pebbles to use as place markers and a young mathematician or two.

Start by drawing a number line on the ground. Ours went from 0-50 by 5′s and I used one big step to measure between the numbers. Ours did not have marks to mark each number on the line but if you want to you can do this. I had my son estimate where those numbers would be when he needed to. My line is a little wobbly but it didn’t bother either one of my kids or change the outcome. Don’t stress about little things like this.

I wrote out equations that my son has been working on doing mentally. This is our way of drilling without drilling. It’s fun and active and even if you are working on drills you can add an active element. Then switch gears to using the number line as a tool to help figure out the equations.

Call out the equation and have them place a pebble on the answer.

Keep going. This was a big hit with my son and I went through all the equations and added more on the fly.

For younger players have them simply find the number and step on it. For my daughter after she walked the line and counted by 5s  I called out the numbers on either end of the line so she was bopping from one end to the other and learning as she went.

Although it often rains around here we aren’t expecting rain for a few days so we grabbed the hose and sprayed down our line when we were done.

## Connect The Dots { Math Activity For Kids }

Adding in small but beneficial bits of learning into your children’s day goes a long long way. My son was in full day kindergarten this year and was really tired when he returned home. I still wanted to do fun educational activities with him but knew I had to keep them brief. A few days a week in addition to his homework ( which was optional this year ) we would do short activities like this math activity for kids. The key is that they are fun and don’t FEEL like homework. We don’t want to burn our kids out. You can find more of these Learning After School ( or summer camp) activities here.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some two sheets of paper, a pencil , markers and some painter’s tape. It’s also handy to have a window near by.
2. Draw any shape. I chose a rocket. Add dots along the shape .
3. Tape it to the window and pop the second sheet of paper on top and trace only the dots. Add in any interior lines too.
4. Add the equations at each dot. Make sure they are in order . They should start by equaling 1 ( 3-2 = 1 ) then 2( 4-2 = 2 )  and so on and so forth. Your child will connect the answers to the equations in order from 1 on. You could adapt this for other types of math like skip counting .
5. I wrote out the directions for my son to sneak in some reading too.
6. Start! This didn’t take him long but he loved it.
7. Color when you are done. My son is not a fan of coloring but I add it in with things he loves like math to try to make it more fun for him . Coloring can seem like busy work but it is great practice for writing which most kids this age need work on so don’t miss out on coloring.

For more great math activities check out my Math Is Fun Pinterest board.

## Secret Code For Kids { Math Activity }

My son loves math and spies so this secret code for kids activity is right up his alley. Math is one way he bonds with his dad .In our 45 Ways To Show Dad You Love Him #29 is ” Do math drills together”  and they really do love doing it. I prefer more playful ways to teach math and I hope between mom and dad my son has a good foundation of support as he learns. This math activity is geared towards kindergarten through 2nd grade but you could adapt it to your child’s level easily. Check out the steps below for my suggestions how to adapt it.

1. Gather your materials. All you need are 2 pieces of paper as fancy or as plain as you wish, a marker and pencil.
2. Start by deciding what secret message you are going to write out. and places dashes on the paper. For older children make more complicated phrases and include punctuation. For younger children make sure that you are creating a secret message they will recognize like their name.
3. Write out the key.
4. Write the clues. For my son I used simple math equations but for younger children you could just use numbers that match up.
5. Time to crack the code!
6. He had a blast – there were a lot of equations and while some were simple, some were tough. I like to balance out challenges with easier ones that help create a sense of confidence.  You may want to have some manipulatives on hand for your child to use . We grabbed some googly eyes for my son to use for some of the clues.
7. Getting my son to practice handwriting is tough so sneaking it in with math is my secret weapon. After figuring out a few clues he discovered he had to write his letters more carefully so he could read the message once he had all the clues. This made him slow down which is a challenge at the best of times.
8. He did it ! Being the just kid that he is he flipped it over and included his own message.

How do you sneak learning in with your kids during the summer?  For more summer learning ideas check out our Pinterest Boards . I pin new ideas daily ( sometimes hourly… )

## Book

Detective Camp by Ron Roy is a perfect book to read with this activity. My son and I just finished it tonight. In this easy read chapter book three friends are off to summer camp but it’s not just any summer camp it’s Detective Camp!  I really love this book because not only does it talk about summer camp , friendship and solving mysteries it also introduces kids to Grandma Moses and art forgery. There is even a hidden message that readers must piece together . My 6 year old loved it and even though he is not a reluctant reader the hidden message would be a great motivator for kids who are less excited to read.

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## Fine Motor Skills Challenge ( and some math)

My son like many kindergarteners has been focusing a lot on writing this year and while they hone their letter formation they are also working on spelling and punctuation. It’s a lot to coordinate. If the physical task of writing is using up all their concentration the more complex ones just add to the possible frustration . The best thing parents can do is to find ways to build those fine motor skills. This task was NOT easy for my son.  What I did with this was to balance it with an element he loves ( math) in order for him to do all 4 corks instead of giving up with the first. Don’t be afraid to make something hard just decide what your goal is.  That said had there been a complete refusal I would have adapted it using larger objects.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some wine corks or rectangular blocks and many elastic bands.
2. Wrap the bands around the corks. Wrap a different number of bands around each. Make some tight and other looser.
3. Invite your child to make a prediction about how many rubber bands are on each cork. No need to write it down but if you want to add some writing into the activity by all means grab some paper and a pencil with an eraser.
4. Start unwrapping.  A lot of things come easy to my son so challenges are not always welcomed. I reminded him not to give up that we needed to find out how many were on these little corks. After getting them off count.
5. Repeat with the other corks.  This one was wrapped very tightly and he got frustrated initially but oh wait for it… I got a smile out of him too. I slipped in a little chat about how over coming challenges is way more fun that doing a task that is easy to start with.

Other ways to easily build your child’s fine motor skills are to play with play dough, beading or lacing , sewing and needle arts, playing with stickers, and our favorite Lego.  Check out more ideas from all over the web on our Fine Motor Pinterest Board.

## Make Math Drills Fun – 2 Quick Math Activities

Math is important and practicing facts and skills after school doesn’t have to be major undertaking. A quick trip to the dollar store and you can get all the materials for both of these activities that are easy to adapt as your child masters the material.  These activities are not geared to teach your child the material but to practice facts they know for speed and accuracy. Yes this is the realm of flash cards ( go ahead and giggle) and the perfect example of when they work. Subitising ( recognizing amounts without counting )and addition up to ten are both facts that need to be recalled not figured out by the end of Kindergarten and practice like this is a fun way to do it. Do not worry if your kids count at first that’s fine and natural just keep playing, keeping it fun and practicing until they recall it instead of counting.

Clip In The Blanks

This is a novel way of working on a not so novel exercise. The clothes pins also add in a little fine motor work that children in the early grades can always use as they strengthen their skills for writing.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some foam sticks ( large tongue depressors or simple cardboard will work too) , clothes pins, markers and a kiddo ready to practice.
2. Write out equations that equal 10. Starting with 1 + _ = 10 up to 9 + __ = 10  .
3. Write the numbers on your clothes pins.
4. Set them out of your child. If you are just starting to work on these facts choose a few in order . Then next time move to all ten in order. We aren’t trying to get them to work it out we are trying to get them to respond automatically. Once they can do it in order easily mix it up the next time.
5. My son loves math and quickly clipped them when they were in order. “This is easy.” So I mixed a few up and while he did it well it took him a little longer. As we play more it will get faster and faster.

Self Correcting Flash Cards

Not all of these flash cards are working on subitising but most are. For those of you unfamiliar with subitising it’s the ability to recognize amounts automatically without counting. Tally marks, dots like on dominoes and numbers represented by hand signals are the most commonly used. These simple folded flash cards lets kids practice alone if they want.

1. Gather your materials. You will need some sentence strips a marker and a kiddo.
2. Write out equations, make dominoes or tally marks on the first third of the strip.
3. Place the answer on the 2nd third and then fold. I made 14 for my son and he flew through them. I am making him 20 next time.
4. Press the folds tight so there will be no cheating!
5. Play. Clearly he thought it was fun . I was so happy to see that!

Even though we are working hard to practice I am still not a fan of drill drill drill so keeping it fun, novel and as positive as possible is really important. This side of math is my most hated and is what killed my joy for it as a child so I really want to make these activities as dynamic, light and interactive as possible so my son’s passion for math isn’t squashed.