KimsKorner: More Summer learning fun

By Kimberly Jenkins - [email protected]

It is important to do some educational work in the summer to help kids be ready for school in the fall.

During my search for some more ideas to keep the brain alive for your kids this summer, I started reading something that caught my eye because it said, “Avoiding the summer brain drain.” That is exactly what I’ve been trying to help you do with your children this summer.

The beginning said this about brain drain: Children typically forget some of what they learned during the school year if they don’t engage in learning activities over the summer. This is particularly true in math. A study by researchers at the University of Missouri shows that on average, students lost about 2.6 months of math learning over the summer.

That means classroom teachers spend weeks reviewing math facts and concepts in the first few weeks of school. So to help avoid that they had one suggestion for the license plate game I put in last week – A math twist for a license plate game families can play in the car. Ask your children to add up the numbers in the license plates of passing cars. You can assign a value to the letters, for example, every letter equals 5. Older children can multiply the numbers.

The article then had the following math ideas to avoid the brain drain: 10 more ways to work math into your summer routine – I have put them in my column so you don’t have to look them up yourselves.

Note numbers.

Increase your child’s awareness of numbers by looking around the house to find examples: the kitchen clock, the calendar, a cereal box, a TV dial, a stamp or inside her shoe. Have her write down the numbers she sees, or give her a number and ask her to look around the house for examples of the number. Boost your older child’s awareness of how numbers are used by pointing out the movie times, weather forecasts and sports statistics in your daily newspaper.

Two, four, six, eight, now it’s time to estimate.

Estimation is one way to increase a child’s number sense. Before you put a stack of folded towels on a shelf or fill a bowl with peaches, ask your child to estimate how many will fit. Then count afterward to compare the actual number to the estimate. Helping your child learn to make appropriate predictions will help her see how numbers are used in everyday life. Learning to ask, “Is my answer reasonable?” will help her as she tackles math problems in the classroom.

What does a hundred look like?

Understanding the concept of 100 is difficult for young children, even if they can count that far. Suggest that your child start making collections of 100 things — rubber bands, watermelon seeds, pebbles or buttons. You can divide the objects in groups of 10 or 2 or 5 to see how these smaller groups add up to 100 in different ways. Glue the objects onto a piece of colored construction paper for a math collage. Seeing 100 will help her conceptualize it.

Unlock the code.

Help your child recognize numbers and think critically by appealing to his love of mystery. Write out all the letters in the alphabet on a sheet of paper, leaving room underneath each letter for a number. Under each letter, write the numbers from 1 to 26. In other words, a=1, b=2, etc. Practice writing coded messages using numbers rather than letters. You can use the code to leave simple messages from one another.

How tall are you?

Many families record the height of their child on a door or wall chart. If you do the same for everyone in the family, your child can join in the measuring and see how the heights compare. Measurement and understanding relationships between numbers are crucial to the development of mathematical thinking.

Play grocery store math.

The supermarket is an ideal place to use math skills, particularly for older children. Point out that yogurt is $2.59 a six-pack. Ask how much it would cost to buy 3? Your child can round up to $2.60 or $3.00 and figure this out. Talk about how he arrived at that number, point out how the estimate differs from the true cost. Or get the latest advertisement announcing sales from the grocery store. Have her look at the specials on fruit and determine how to spend $10.00. Supply her with paper and pencil, and maybe a calculator, as well, so she can practice using calculators the way adults use them every day.

What’s on the menu?

The next time you go to a restaurant, hang on to the menu while you are waiting for your meal and play some math games with your child. Ask him to find the least expensive item on the menu, then all the items that cost between $5 and $10 or three items whose total cost is between $9 and $20. This will not only fill the time while you’re waiting to eat, it will show your child how math is used every day.

Cook up a math game.

The kitchen is a great place to practice math, as long as there’s an adult home to supervise. How many tomatoes will you need to double the recipe for sauce? If you put 10 slices of mushroom on the pizza, ask your child to put to twice as many olive slices. How many is that? If there are three people in your family and 15 strawberries to divide equally among them, how many strawberries will each person get?

Measure the distance.

You don’t have to leave home for this game, although it’s ideal for vacations. Get out a map that indicates the distance in miles between cities. Measure the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and between Phoenix and San Francisco. Which is greater? How does that compare to the distance between New York City and Chicago?

Change up.

Give your child an assortment of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. Put a piece of fruit on the table and tell him it costs 45 cents. Tell him he needs to find five coin combinations that equal 45 cents. Change the item, raise the price and find five more. Keep a tally of all the ways to pay for each item.

The next two ideas are some for Middle and/or Elementary Students that I will have more for next week from:

Plan a Dream Vacation

Students may not be able to travel at the moment because of the ongoing pandemic, but if they could go anywhere in the world, which destination would they choose? Ask them to imagine that they have $5,000 to spend on their dream vacation. Then have them use the internet, guide books, travel brochures, and maps to plan out a week-long itinerary. They can follow these steps:

Choose a destination.

Decide how many family members will take the trip.

Calculate roundtrip costs for airfare or car rental on sites such as

Research the attractions you will want to explore along with admission costs and travel to and from. Be sure to check days and hours of operation.

Create an itinerary for each day of the seven-day trip. Include time for travel to attractions and meal breaks.

Add up the costs. Did you stay within budget? If not, how can you change the itinerary to bring costs down?

Ready, Set, Invent!

New products are often inspired by problems in need of solutions. This summer project for middle school students challenges them to come up with an invention that solves a summer-related problem. The invention could be completely new or improve an existing product. They might start by brainstorming a list of summer annoyances. Mosquito bites are pretty annoying. Maybe bug-repellant clothing will do the trick. Summer can be fun-filled, but there are always some boring days, too. A new game could liven things up. Once students have their idea for an invention, ask them to create a prototype for it, along with a short description of how the invention works and the materials needed to build it.


During the summer, it is my goal to possibly have things that will keep your kids from losing what they have learned through this year, whether it be virtual, in person, or a combination. With this school year being as unusual as it was, it was it will be important to keep your children’s brain thinking some of the time. Seriously, think about it, you’ve all become good teachers by now and I’ll just add some needed skills for different levels, so you don’t have to look up things, just have them do them some different times this summer. God Bless you all and have a good week.

Let me know any ideas you have or what you would like to see and I’ll get right on it for you. Email me at [email protected]

Remember to be kind and love each other and continue to set a good example for our children. See you next week with new ideas and ways to help your children or ideas that may help you as you raise your children in some way.

It is important to do some educational work in the summer to help kids be ready for school in the fall. is important to do some educational work in the summer to help kids be ready for school in the fall.

By Kimberly Jenkins

[email protected]

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights

Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928

© 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights