Summer is in full swing, and that means lots of hot, sunny days. Ask your child to keep track by drawing a sun on the calendar for each sunny day. At the end of the month, add them all up. Were there more sunny days or cloudy days?
It is usual to count by 10's starting with the number 10. Try something different with your child. Ask her to count by 10's, but starting with the number 5. See how far she can get.
It's a good day to eat watermelon! Before cutting into the melon, ask your child to estimate its circumference (how big around it is). If you don't have a tape measure to check his estimate, use a piece of string and measure the string with a ruler.
Make chocolate chip cookies together, but don't settle for just round cookies. Make cookies of different shapes, such as squares, rectangles and triangles! You can even make cookies shaped like numbers, such as the numbers in your child's age.
Fireflies are common in many parts of the country, but not all. If you don't have fireflies in your neck of the woods, your child can still catch fireflies by helping Curious George in this online game.
How many toes are in your family? Ask your child to count them, and then draw a picture. Show her how it is quicker to count by fives or 10's.
Brainstorm with your child all the ways to make the number 7. For example, you can hold up five fingers on one hand and two on the other; you can write the numeral or the number word, and you can roll a pair of die so one lands on 4 and the other on 3. How else can you make 7?
Today is August 8. What will the date be 10 days from today? What about 20 days from today?
Can your child stand on one leg for one minute? Can she hop for one minute? Time her and find out. This is a good way to help your child understand the concept of time.
Today's a day to make s'mores! Ask your child to count out the ingredients and then assemble them, making sure each s'more has two Graham Crackers, one large marshmallow, and a piece of chocolate candy bar. For a healthier alternative, make fruit s'mores.
Can't get to the beach this summer? No matter, you can still build sandcastles! In this online game you build virtual sandcastles by matching shapes.
A fun way to pass the time on a long car trip, or even while running errands around town, is to hunt for numbers. First decide on what number you want to count up to and then start the search, beginning with number "1." Look for numbers on license plates, road signs, buildings, vehicles, etc.
Label three pieces of paper "Morning," "Afternoon," and "Evening." Talk with your child about what he does during these times of the day. Then ask him to draw pictures or find pictures in magazines to illustrate the activities, and glue them to the appropriate sheet of paper.
In your backyard or a park, challenge your child to measure the distances to various objects (e.g., tree, swing set, or bench). An easy way to do this is by counting the number of steps it takes him to reach an object. Which object is the closest? Which is the farthest away?
If you have stairs in your house or leading up to your house, ask your child to estimate how many steps there are. Have her check her estimate by counting the steps as she goes up or down them. You can also do this activity in a museum, library, or other public places with stairs.
Invite your child to imagine her ideal rollercoaster ride, and then draw its path. Ask her to describe the path using position words such as up, down, under, over, through, and around.
Create a shape memory game by drawing shapes on index cards, one shape per card. Draw two each of the following shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, pentagon, hexagon. Place the 12 cards face down on a table. Take turns turning over two at a time looking for matching pairs of shapes.
Decorate a batch of frosted cupcakes with patterns. You can make patterns with any small edible toppings such as raisins, sprinkles, chocolate chips, mini-marshmallows, and jelly beans. For example, make alternating rows of red and blue sprinkles. Get more cupcake pattern ideas here.
Gather together five pairs of socks and five pairs of shoes. Lay them down in a row, creating a pattern for your child to finish (e.g., shoe — sock — shoe — sock — shoe — sock — what comes next?) Invite your child to start a pattern for you to finish.
Use your finger to "draw" numbers on your child's back. As you draw each number ask him to guess what it is. For younger kids, this is a fun activity to do in the bathtub with a soapy back.
Fill a small box with toys and candies. Hide the box outside. Invite your child to find the "treasure" by following your directions. Use position vocabulary such as under, over, around, and through to direct her to the treasure (e.g., around a tree, over a small bush, under a picnic table, etc.)
Practice addition while helping Gabriela harvest vegetables in this online game from Sid the Science Kid.
What day of the week is it today? What day of the week will it be on the 23rd next month? What about on December 23? Give your child a calendar to find out.
Help your child learn the days of the week with a song. Use a familiar tune such as the theme song from the Addams Family: "Days of the week, days of the week, days of the week (snap fingers twice). There's Sunday and there's Monday; there's Tuesday and there's Wednesday; there's Thursday and there's Friday; and then there's Saturday." Repeat the opening.
A classic banana split has three scoops of ice cream, typically chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Help your child figure out how many different combinations of these flavors are possible in the three scoops? (e.g., Chocolate — Vanilla — Strawberry; Chocolate — Chocolate — Vanilla, etc.).
Conduct a dog survey, by asking family members and friends if they like big dogs or little dogs. Create a 3-column chart, and label the columns "Big," "Little," and "Both." Record responses by putting check marks in the appropriate columns. Which column got the most check marks?
Go to your local hardware or paint store, and pick up a bunch of paint samples from three different color groups (e.g., reds, blues, and browns). Mix them up and ask your child to sort them by color group.
Buttons are great sorting objects because there are so many different ways to sort them (e.g., color, size, shape, etc.). Ask your child to sort them one way, re-sort them, and then re-sort them again. Can she think of another way to sort them?
Gather together all that spare change you have lying around the house. Put it on a table, and ask your child to sort it by type of coin.
Challenge your child to count by 10's starting from 30, today's date. How far can she get. Next, ask her to count backward from 30, by 10's, fives, and ones.
Make a batch of trail mix , and practice counting skills at the same time. Invite your child to count out 100 pieces of each ingredient such as mini pretzels, chocolate chips, and raisins. He can also count the ingredients by two or fives.