Mathematics is everywhere—in the home, in the garden, in stores, in cars and planes. . . . That makes it easy both to encourage kids to discover the mathematics in everyday life and to provide fun challenges during the summer. Here are some ideas you can pass on to families, emphasizing how important it is for students to keep their thinking and math skills fresh so they don't lose ground over the summer.

Summer is a great time to work on kids' money management skills. Start an allowance, offer opportunities to earn and use money, pick a goal for savings, and open a savings account.

Taking a trip? Get out the maps and have the kids calculate distances and figure mileage and gas costs and develop a budget.

Can't go on a trip, but want to practice planning and money management? See Road Trip to Savings for a four-week, virtual road trip to learn about the challenges of traveling and financial stability.

Start playing a simple Sudoku puzzle in the newspaper, or find an online Sudoku puzzle with interactive features such as a How am I doing? button. Solving a Sudoku puzzle does not require using mathematics in the sense of calculating with numbers because the numbers 1–9 used in Sudoku puzzles are only placeholders. But Sudoku will challenge players to reason and think logically, which are important tools in mathematics. For fun, consider how a Sudoku puzzle would look, if, instead of the numerals 1–9, the first nine letters of the alphabet, A through I, are used as placeholders. The puzzle would look different, but the logic and reasoning involved would be the same.

From the ORC Collection

See Helping Your Child Learn Mathematics (ORC #75) for fun summer activities to keep your child thinking mathematically. The section "Mathematics in the Home" is found on pages 7–58. For the booklet in Spanish, see Cómo ayudar a su hijo con las matemáticas.

Check out the other interactive learning tools at the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (ORC #5048). You will want to spend some time working with these online tools so that you know how they work and understand what mathematics your student will be using.

Go to the ORC Mathematics Bookshelf to see outstanding trade books for children of all ages. Most books will be available at your local library. The first book on the bookshelf, Cardinal Numbers, is much more than a counting book. Think of this book as a peek into Ohio's rich history and a source of ideas for fun things to see and do in Ohio. After reading the short Bookshelf description, see the How to Use This Book section for more good ideas on how and why to read and talk about the book with a child.

Let your child play and count with actual coins and bills. After some playtime with real money, show your child an interactive, online learning tool, Money, for further understanding and skill development!

If the kids want to play games online, check out Learning Games for Little Kids, part of CoolMath.com.

If the children are a little older and ready for more challenges, see the CoolMath.com page All Games A–Z for more games that involve lots of fun with math.

Finally, for creative fun with mathematics, check out Math Cats. Scroll down on the home page to find entry points to seven areas including Math Cats Explores (with interactive tools for calculating exactly how old you are and for finding the length of a period of time in units from years to seconds) and Micro Worlds (with challenges about estimating the size of crowds, making change, and exploring multiplication).