Did you know? Kit Kat became a huge hit in Japan partly on accident. The name of the product sounds vaguely like a popular saying: Kitto Katsu, which means I will do my best. As such, their famous tagline (“Have a break, have a Kit Kat,”) turned into “Make the most of your break”.
A break can be very productive indeed – a time for rest, but also a time to reinforce what’s already been learnt with practical application. With this in mind, we compiled some ideas to make summer magnificent and maths-efficient.
1. Are we there yet?
One of the best features of DoodleMaths is that it doesn’t need to be connected to the Internet to function, which makes it the perfect travel companion! But in case your iPad battery runs out and you don’t have a charger on hand, a road trip is a great way to introduce or reinforce the concept of time x speed = distance.
You can decide how simple or complex your terms will be – the distance can be 60 miles, or 6 parts, and you can travel 15 of them per hour, or 1.5, depending on your child’s level and understanding, and you can introduce more terms the more you travel.
2. Geometry by the seaside
Who doesn’t like building sand castles, or digging a moat? How many geometric figures can you think of that can be found in a single building? Cubes and pyramids for towers, rhombuses and circles in windows or walls, bricks shaped like rectangles or squares, or drawing bridges that make triangles (how much rope will you need to make this drawbridge work, if it’s this long and the gate – this tall?).
In fact, why not apply the same logic next time you visit a real castle? Make a game of how many figures you can find from one point, and let your child get creative.
3. Magic in the kitchen
You may not think of it this way, but every time you cook, you are a modern-day alchemist and the kitchen is your laboratory. So why not get a little assistant this summer to help with your potions, and maybe try out applied maths along the way (and applied physics and chemistry, if they are so inclined. First lesson: recognizing all the safety warnings on bottles and jars!).
Try this – if you need to measure 450 grams of flour for your cookies, ditch the measuring glass and give your child a 200 ml mug, and let them work out how much they need to scoop out. If you need 100 grams of yoghurt for a recipe, what percentage of the tub do they need to spoon in? How many 225 gram portions are there in a 3 kg chicken?
4. Lego-block scheduling
No need to negotiate study time on the spot – let your child build it themselves with some age-appropriate Lego-blocks, and have them learn about time (hours, half hours, quarter hours) along the way.
Classify activities in three different colours for each type (blue for play, yellow for study – perhaps the 7/8/9/10-a-day? – and green for time spent with friends) and set a limit to the minimum number of hours assigned for a regular 8-hour day (at least one yellow to every four blue, for example). Then just sit back and watch them go!
5. Settle down for some good old-fashioned geometry art
Who knew you can have so much fun with a Spirograph? Get some basic shapes with a regular pencil for your kids to fill in, then let them get creative. Try to give them as much freedom as possible (while making sure any pointy bits are safely handled) – it’s okay to be a little messy with the figures, your children will find out soon enough how to make the most of what they’ve got.
Geometry art is actually quite fascinating and can be taken to incredible places – just check out samples of this artist’s work over at We-Elevate or, if you prefer videos, Vi Hart has some amazing stuff out there.
Now it’s your turn. What are your favourite educational activities for summer?