Improving Math Thinking: 3 Who’liday Steps to a Math Whiz Kid

With the holidays fast approaching, school will let out for the holidays and seasonal activities will take a front seat to education. During this unstructured time, free of homework and tests, you and your kids get to treasure all the family togetherness the season offers. But, during this month away from educational activities, your child will lose 1.3 months of mathematical computation skills. And, if your child already struggles with math, they’re more likely to experience difficulties when they return to school.

The good news is there are three easy steps you can take to make your kid better at math over the holiday season. And, these steps to improve math skills are all activities that can be done at home!


Thanksgiving pies, holiday cookies, secret family recipes—there’s a lot to do in the kitchen this time of year. Why not make some of it a family affair? Teaching your kids to cook gives them a practical way to apply units of measurement, fractions and mental math. Need to double or halve a recipe? Give your kids a chance to do the mental math. Now they’re using their multiplication and division skills, too!


2.1Between family, friends, teachers and club leaders, your child’s list of who they are getting gifts for is probably longer than their list of gifts they want to receive this Christmas. Encourage their giving spirit by having them write a list of who they would like to give gifts to, then teach them about linear thinking, addition, and budgeting by setting a dollar amount for each gift and tracking the total as they shop within that budget. If they use their allowance while shopping, financial literacy skills can be sharpened by counting money for payment and calculating change.

3.1Math games, like Who’s Counting, are great fun and many  target specific math skills for kids 8 and older. Besides improving mental math skills while having fun, Who’s Counting reinforces strategic thinking, prioritizing, and a variety of other math-related skills, to say nothing of the social skills acquired when playing a game with a group. Institute a family game night. We promise, the fun adds up!


If you have any fun activities that improve math skills and math thinking that you enjoy doing with your children at home (or students in class!), please share them in the comments below.

Happy Who’lidays.


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