Fun Summer Activities to Prepare for Second Grade

Fun with Numbers

The precision required for making baked goods is perfect summer math practice.
The precision required for making baked goods is perfect summer math practice.
Jamie Grill/Iconica/Getty Images

As with reading and writing, math gets more mature in second grade. Last year, numbers became less mysterious, with single-digit calculations and counting by 2s and 5s, and the idea of time became both more and less complex. This year, addition and subtraction go double-digit, word problems are tackled using reasoning skills and the concepts of multiplication and division are introduced. Time-telling is more precise, and measurement and graphing make their way into the curriculum.

Some fun ways to head happily into second-grade math:

Take Those Tallies Further!

You know those tallies from your modified Punch Buggy and word-of-the-day games? Don't throw them out! Graphing is an important second-grade skill, and those score cards are perfect fodder. Break that car ride down into hours, and make a bar graph showing how many words each of you spotted in each hour. Play "Use That Word!" for a week and then graph the number of wins each family member racked up over seven days. These types of projects are also great for exploring patterns and posing hypotheses: Judging from this month's graphs, who do you think will win next month?

Is It Time to Go?

Turn "Is it time yet? Is it time yet? Is it time yet?" to your advantage by putting the ball in your little one's court. Together, set a time for a fun outing, at least as specific as the quarter-hour but maybe even down to the minute, depending on skill level. Then, leave it up to your child to let you know when it's time to go!


...or cupcakes or pancakes or peanut-butter squares. Any kind of baking offers the perfect forum for practicing some math skills. You can sneak in all sorts of number lessons. If we need 2 cups of flour, how full should we make the 4-cup measure? If the recipe calls for two chocolate drops on each cookie, and we have three cookies on the sheet, how many drops do we need? The recipe calls for 12 minutes in the oven, but we should check them halfway through -- how long should we wait? Oops, I ate three of the cookies we baked -- how many do we have left?

Let your child take the lead whenever possible here, because baking can also address a different side of second grade ...