Are you on break for the summer? Or do you school year round? Whichever your preference here are some great suggestions for math and writing to change things up or to just keep skills sharp. Each activity should only take 5-10 minutes to complete.
Easy Writing Activities:
- Do some mad-libs.
- Write a group story. You write a beginning – several sentences, then pass the paper to a child who writes a few sentences, then they pass it on to the next child, etc until your story is complete. Have younger children who don’t write dictate to you what they want their sentences to say.
- Write a letter to a grandparent, cousin, or friend.
- Pick a letter from the alphabet and write sentences with alliteration.
- Find a picture in a magazine and write a story about the picture.
- Have each person write a word of their choosing at the top of their paper. Pass the paper to someone else and make a list of synonyms or antonyms (or both!) for that word.
- Similar to above only instead of writing synonyms write rhyming words.
- Choose a word from the dictionary, copy the definition, then write at least three sentences that contain that word.
- Write a “daddy and me” or “mommy and me” book.
- Write an acrostic poem using the word ‘summer.’
- Create a comic strip. Here’s a cute way to do it.
- Write a diamante poem using this interactive site.
- Write a postcard. Much easier than writing a full letter!
- Look out the window and write three similes for what you can see. Now change those similes into metaphors.
- Do a word search.
- Write a Paint Chip Story.
- Play Scrabble or Bananagrams or Boggle.
- Rewrite a favorite children’s story. For instance, instead of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf write about the Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.
- Sit outside and write down all the sounds you hear, or sights you see, or smells you smell.
There are definitely more activities than these to do but hopefully this will be a starting point. One fun thing is to make a “weekly special.” Here are a couple of examples:
- Choose a word from the dictionary and copy its meaning one day. The next day write all the synonyms you can. The next day write all the antonyms you can think of. The next day write all the rhyming words, and finally the last day write five sentences that contain the original word and at least one other word from the synonyms, antonym, rhyming lists created.
- Have a poetry week.
- Letter writing week where a letter is written every day to a different person.
Quick Math Games:
- Math War (a favorite): Use any deck of cards that contain numbers, shuffle them and divide them up evenly between two players. Before play begins decide which math function will be reviewed for the game – addition, subtraction, or multiplication. (This doesn’t work well with division) Each player flips over a card at the same time, looks at the two numbers and figures out the answer in his head, calling out the number. This is great for subtraction for the littler ones as they must first figure out the largest number to subtract from. Sometimes we pair up older kids with younger ones – the older ones have to multiply the numbers while the younger ones just have to add.
- Jump Rope Math: This can be done either with a regular jump rope for one child or get a long jump rope to involve more children. Variation 1: As the child jumps give them a math problem to solve. They repeat the math equation and then jump the answer – “4 + 5 is 9, 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . .” etc. Variation 2: Two children turn a long jump rope. They each yell out a number. The one jumping combines the numbers (either multiplies, adds or subtracts depending on what they need practice with) and jumps the answer like in variation 1.
- Do a sudoku puzzle. Online games at Funbrain or printable ones from About.com.
- Play Rush Hour. You may not think math is involved but it is great for boosting problem-solving and logical thinking abilities. We have the game from MindWare but there is an online version here.
- Play Set
- Again another problem-solving logic game that is really fun to play.
- Worksheets. We print ours from Math Fact Cafe and SuperKids Math.
- Water Painting. I give the child a spray bottle full of water and tell them a math equation. Using the spray bottle they “write” the equation and answer on the sidewalk.
- Online math games. The ones at Sheppard Software are the best! They cover basics, fractions, time, money, decimals, measurement, and even pre-algebra.
- Store. We set up a fake store with prices on things, give the kids play money, and let them shop. The cashier has to calculate the total without a calculator first, counts out change, etc. A calculator can be used to check for the correct answer.
Math and writing do not have to be boring, dreaded subjects! Change things up every now and then to keep learning fun.
What math or writing activities do you like to do with your children?
Montserrat Wadsworth is completely devoted to her wonderful husband, Joseph, and their eight children (seven girls and one boy!). They live on a 4,000 acre alfalfa farm nestled in a small Northern Nevada valley. They’ve been homeschooling for 11+ years. Montserrat enjoys, photography, cooking, crafting, chocolate, and sloppy goodnight kisses. She strives to live each day as God would have her do following Mary’s biblical supplication, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” (Luke 1:38) You can find her at her blog Chocolate On My Cranium.