Have fun with maths and literacy this summer

Whether it’s on the road, at the beach or in the bush, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun with maths and literacy these holidays. Sven Wright reports.

Students with their teacher who is holding a measuring device. Students with their teacher who is holding a measuring device.
Image: There are plenty of opportunities to hone your maths skills during the break.

Holidays are for relaxing, but can also include fun activities for young brains, so they are primed and ready for a new school year.

Road trips, bushwalks, hosting family and friends, or simply playing outdoors or indoors provide plenty of options for having fun with words or the magic of maths.

The Department’s Everyday Maths Hub has suggestions for keeping young people entertained, while adding to their day-to-day maths skills. There are many old and new word games to keep children’s literacy up to speed over the holidays.

The leader of Mathematics Professional Learning, Michelle Tregoning, said with maths at the heart of everyday life, there are plenty of opportunities to hone your maths skills during the break.

“Whether it’s working out how to spend your Christmas money, how to beat your brother, sister, or favourite aunty in the next game you play, or working out what time you need to leave home to get to the movies on time, we all use maths, all of the time, every day,” Ms Tregoning said.

“That’s why we’re sharing so many maths opportunities for families to have fun playing with our online holiday maths ideas.

“It might be on the road, exploring outdoors or taking on a holiday project. There are lots of fun ideas to appeal to a broad age range and get the adults involved as well.”

Some suggestions include:

  • the suitable suitcase - understanding about size and shape while packing a suitcase

  • car cricket – spot a car with a common colour and score a run, find a rare colour and hit a four or a six, see a B-double and you’re out – house rules apply!

  • swimming pool bingo – guess how many strokes it takes to go a certain distance – closest wins

While for those who are a little older:

  • geography geometry – get a grip on direction, distance and scale by navigating with a map

  • bushwalking by numbers – use a compass and a map to track your way through the bush

  • picture perspectives – explore angles and effects with some creative photography

Kristie O’Neill, Director, Literacy and Numeracy, said holidays are also the perfect time for parents and carers to continue reading with children and follow through with extra ideas.

“From writing down plans for a holiday with children, to talking about place names, street names and signs when you’re out and about or keeping a holiday diary or photos with captions, the opportunities are limitless,” she said.

“There are many structured games like crosswords, Scrabble, Bananagrams and Scattergories to play together traditionally or online, as well as informal games that don’t need any equipment at all.”

A family’s word game collection could include:

  • the traditional favourite ‘I Spy’, which is always open to variation with multiple words in a phrase

  • take it in turns to find ‘Words that rhyme with…’

  • spot the letters to spell your name

  • the memory game ‘My aunt went to Paris and with her she took…’ – the first person names something the aunt took that starts with ‘A’, the second person repeats that and adds something beginning with ‘B’ etc through to ‘Z’. As a real test, after ‘Z’ the next person has to go backwards through the alphabet

  • story time: making up stories starting with ‘What would you do if…’ The story can be as long, short, believable or unbelievable as you like

“Whatever suits the time and participants is good. It all keeps brains active,” Ms O’Neill said.

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