The dog days of summer—well, they’re here. When the heat and humidity really set in, kids can only handle so much time at the park or playground. On the hottest days, you may end up spending the whole day at home, inside. And when you can’t go outside and burn off excess energy, kids quickly go from engaged to a little restless to full-on living room parkour mode.
How can you make learning fun and active for your child while also avoiding summer heat? Here are some air-conditioning-friendly activities to improve critical thinking and math skills:
- Fishing for numbers. You can’t go to the beach or the river every day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go fishing. Make a fishing pole using a stick and twine, then adhere a small kitchen magnet to the line. Cut out numbered paper fish, glue paper clips on each, and you’re ready to cast off! Tally up your catch in creative ways using addition (and subtraction for the ones that get away)!
- Creative card games. Classic card games like cribbage and hearts are great for teaching on-the-fly calculations to older kids. For the little ones, there are dozens of counting games at all skill levels available for download online. Dice and dominoes are great for counting games, too.
- Number hunts. Cut out some numbers in different colors and shapes, then distribute them throughout the house. For older elementary schoolers, you can introduce more advanced mathematical concepts by putting odd numbers on a certain color, even numbers on another, prime numbers on a specific shape, etc.
- Indoor bean bag toss. Lay out a beanbag toss court, like hopscotch, down a hallway using painters tape. House rules for tracking points can be tweaked to include counting, adding, subtracting, multiplication, and more. Just remember to take any framed pictures off the wall before they’re caught in the crossfire.
- Math twister. Twister, but with math! Learn numbers, counting, or addition with a Twister set and post-it notes. All you need is to label each colored spot with a numbered post-it note, along with the spinner, and you’re ready to create math problems. What do you get when adding right-hand-on-two and left-foot-on-four? Something that’s more fun than your average summer afternoon!