10 Great Summer Time Math Games for K – 2nd Grade
Summer is quickly approaching!!! Do you have a plan on how to keep your students engaged in mathematics over their 6- to 8-week summer? I know, for some, that is a daunting task, but it is essential! Students, regardless of socio-economic backgrounds, lose 2 to 3 months of math knowledge over the summer. WOW! I know, that is huge!! That means teachers must re-teach much of what was covered the school year prior and then try and get through all the material that is needed for the year ahead. Some students will struggle with keeping up at the accelerated pace and that can be detrimental to schools who are trying to close the achievement gap. The foundation of number sense is the key to students continuing to learn and explore math as they continue through the grade levels. Understanding numbers place value, the idea of adding on and taking away, and the ability to see how numbers are group together are fundamental in students’ growth.
So, what can you do?
Here are 10 great ways to keep math alive and fun over the summer.
Kindy – 2nd grade
Simple Card Games:
Dollar stores will have 2 decks for a dollar, or you can purchase a MANGO Math custom deck that has the face cards removed and the numbers 0, 11 and 12 added in.
Easy game that just requires a deck of cards and 2 dice. Take out 1 – 10 of a suit, place the cards face up in a row from least to greatest. (If using a MANGO Deck have numbers 1 – 12 of same suit)
- Player rolls dice and can turn over cards that are the sum of the two cards. Example, if you roll a 2 and a 6 = 8. Students can either turn over the 8 or two to three cards that equal 8, like 3 & 5, 6 & 2, 1 & 7.
- Game continues with rolling dice and turning over cards until player either turns over all the cards or rolls a number and has no options for turning over cards.
- Play again and see if player can turn over more cards than the previous time.
Fun, quick math game that students love. Working to master the two digits that make the sum of ten. Game requires three players and a deck of cards. Students remove face cards and shuffles deck, then places nine cards face up in a three by three row.
- As soon as two players see two cards that makes the sum of 10 players can grab the two cards.
- Dealer will replace cards as soon as they are taken. There is no turn taking, just see a pair that makes 10 and grab them.
- Once dealer if out of cards and players have matched all the cards, the players count how many pairs they collected to determine the winner.
- Player who wins the game becomes the new dealer.
Money is a great way to get students to count. Giving students penny, dimes, nickels and quarters allows them to practice their money recognition, addition skills, as well as their place value skills (pennies = ones place, dimes = tens place, and dollars = hundreds place).
Students will need pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. They will collect as many of one currency until they have enough to exchange it for another currency.
- Roll a dice and collect that number of pennies. If there are five or more pennies exchange 5 of them for a nickel.
- Continue to roll dice and collecting pennies until you have another nickels worth. Once you have two nickels students can exchange it for a dime.
- Play continues as they collect pennies, and exchange them for other coins until they reach a dollar.
How Much Money?
This game is played with just pennies, nickels and dimes. One student creates a screen, like a book or notebook to hide the coins they are placing down.
- The student hiding the coins will line up the coins in a pattern, i.e. penny, penny, dime, penny, penny, dime, penny, penny, dime. They will then state how many coins are in the pattern, that every third one is a dime, rest are pennies. How much money is in the purse?
- The other player/s must guess how many of each coin is in the purse.
- They can also hide money in a purse, tell how many coins and total value and students have to guess how many coins are pennies, nickels or dimes.
Place value games:
Understanding place value is critical in understanding numbers place in a series of digits (234 is two hundreds, three tens, and four ones) and in adding and subtracting multiple digits.
Do you remember the game Red Rover? I might be dating myself here. Pretty sure, it’s because of the physical force of this game, that it isn’t played anymore, but students would form a chain, holding hands with the person next to them and they would call over a player from the other team, “Red Rover, Red Rover send Johnny on over.” And Johnny would run across and if Johnny (called out player) could break the chain of people holding hands, they could then pick a player to come back to their side. If they could not break the chain, they had to stay with the other team.
This game is not really like that, but it is where I got the idea for Round Over. Players on each side hold up cards with tens (10 – 90 or 100 to 900) and a team would call out Round Over, Round Over have Johnny round ___ (a number like 38). Johnny would need to round the number and run to the correct person holding up the number 40. If he was correct, he would bring that person over to his side. If he was incorrect he would have to stay with the other team.
Create strips like those pictured. Have students write down a number and break it into its place in the number line. Students can build the biggest number or the smallest number.
- Start by rolling a dice or drawing a card from a deck of cards to create a single digit.
- Students can determine where that digit will go, in the thousands, hundreds, tens or ones place, trying to create the largest or smallest number.
- Students can have one digit that they can not use, but have to determine that at the time the number is rolled or drawn.
- Students compare their number to others to see who create the largest or smallest number.
- If more than one student is doing this game try putting the numbers in order from least to greatest.
Categorizing items by their attributes:
The ability to group things according to a common characteristic and then name that characteristic is a basic concept that helps children form a basis for structuring and organizing their world. When you systematically teach categorization strategies, you are not just teaching a single skill but a system for learning, problem solving and organizing, you are also teaching the foundation for processing, remembering and integrating new information.
Using bear counters students can categorize them bears according to size and color. Have them start by counting total number of bears and then how many are in each group. This gets students understanding quantity and parts of the whole.
Cleaning the cupboards
Having students organizing a closet, cupboard, drawer, toy boxes, etc is great ways to help students understand how to categorize every day objects. Have them tell you how they organized the items and how many of each item there are. Students may notice that some objects belong to more than one category… so ask them what did they do with that object and why?
Playing with blocks and toys:
Never underestimate the power of playing to understand mathematics. Spatial reasoning and critical thinking are emphasized organically when students play. Just make sure to ask questions like; How tall is that wall? How many blocks did it take to create it? How can you attach another section on to the wall when the end is finished off? How tall of a tower can you create without it falling over? How many different clothing options does your doll have? There are so many questions that can be asked like this when your students are playing.