Ideas to Help Reduce Math Brain Drain During Holiday Break

The holidays are for fun and relaxation. There’s no school, no homework, and lots of free time. But a prolonged break from the classroom can cause math brain drain. This means some students will lose the math skills they learned prior to the break. Math is the last thing most kids want to think about during a break, but here are some fun ways to lessen math brain drain.

Make it Fun
No child wants to spend their holiday doing boring math problems. But if you make it fun, then your child will enjoy the experience. Playing games together is one of the best ways to do this.

Dozens of games require the use of math skills. Even if the game has nothing to do with math, it could still provide a learning opportunity. Scrabble is one example. Everyone knows it’s a word game, but someone has to keep track of the scores. Calculating the value of each word, counting the number of tiles on a rack, and adding the final scores is all math.

Other classic games such as Yahtzee and Rummikub provide a fun way to work on strategy, logic, adding, counting, and probability skills. Chutes and Ladders is another example of a game that encourages counting. Practicing math is much more fun when it doesn’t feel like homework.

Break the Piggy Bank
Counting money can help your child with addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Use your own spare change or paper money for this activity.

Start the activity by putting dimes and nickels on the table. Ask your child the value of each coin and much is there in all. Think of different situations which require the child to perform various math functions. For example, ask how much would remain if two dimes were removed or added.

Sales flyers offer another opportunity to practice math skills. Give your child a flyer and create a pretend budget. They’ll have to determine if they can buy what they want without going over budget. You could also use this opportunity to teach your child about sales tax.

Visit the Bookstore
Most bookstores carry math workbooks for grades K-12. These workbooks contain engaging and creative activities that are more fun than a stuffy textbook. You and your child could browse the workbooks together, and pick one or two that seem like a lot of fun. In as little as 20 to 30 minutes per day, your child could complete a few workbook activities.

An alternative is to use printable worksheets. Several websites have grade-appropriate worksheets that you can print at home.

Balance is the Key
Preventing math brain drain doesn’t mean ruining your child’s holiday break. Find a balance between math time and time for relaxation. Achieving this balance will allow your child to return to school refreshed and ready to learn.