Summer is a great time for math to enter your family life in a casual setting, without the stress of grades, homework, or commute. Use this time to fuel your child's interest in math. Children like to mimic adults, so if you find a math-related activity you yourself enjoy, your children will soon join in. Below are some of our suggestions for car-related activities, adding a bit of educational spice to those long summer road trips.
- Have a competition: who can more accurately predict the exact time of arrival? Ditch your GPS for a bit and watch how competitive this game becomes. When did we start the trip? What’s the total distance, and how long have we been on the road? What part of the total distance is already covered? These are all questions your children will learn to ask themselves. Soon after you begin, everyone will predict a time, and the most accurate prediction wins! You can also modify the game and allow those who want to, to change their predictions half-way.
- Are you preparing for an outing? Ask for help deciding how much food you should take with you. Lead your children to ask the right questions. "If everyone will drink around 5 cups of water, and there are 10 of us, and, just in case, I want to have a gallon extra, how many gallon containers of water should we take with us?”
- Practice multiplication tables! Create a routine: for the first 2 minutes (and no more!) of every trip you take, review the table. Make sure to start with small numbers. In two minutes, you can ask 15 questions! If all answers are delivered within 5 seconds, your child wins!
- Observe the cars on the road. Tell your children, for example, that you think there are twice as many small cars on the road as large ones. Challenge them to check if you are right. How can they do it? For 1 minute, count the cars you pass, and see what the ratio is. You spotted 27 small cars and 10 large cars? This means that there probably are 3 times as many small cars as large ones.
- An easy solution for an activity is to store a book of math puzzles in your car. Chances are someone, bored on the road and with low battery on their ipad, will look through it. A few we suggest include:
a. The Moscow Puzzles, by Boris Kordemsky
b. Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers, Martin Gardner
c. What is the name of this book?, Raymond Smullyan
d. The Lady or the Tiger, Raymond Smullyan