6 Ways to Find Math Around Us This Winter
Wintertime marks a favorite time of year for many in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether you live in an area that gets snow and a drop in temperature, or you just enjoy the general season of holiday cheer, there are unique learning opportunities all around us during this time of year. Although math may be the last subject on your child’s mind when they’re not in school, it’s important that they stay on track in between making snow angels and drinking hot cocoa.
To help with that, here are six ways to find math around you this winter.
Checking the temperature
In many areas around the world, November and December bring about a change in temperature. Have your child read the thermometer and record the temperature several times per day for a few days in a row. Your child will have to tap into their addition and subtraction skills to determine how much cooler or warmer it got between days or from morning to night
Most kids who live in an area that get snow during the winter love to watch as it fall in anticipation of going outside to play. But did you know you can turn that waiting game into a math activity? Grab a ruler and head outside with your child soon after it begins to snow. Stick the ruler into the ground or the snow that has already fallen to track how many inches of snow fall that day. After the snow stops, your child will be excited to go back outside and measure the results. They can compare the measurement of total inches (or feet!) to the last snowfall to practice “greater or less than” concepts.
Building a Snowman
Who doesn’t love to build a snowman?! Did you know that there are several mathematical concepts that can be incorporated into the activity? Building a snowman can help your child further understand the concept of weight based on the fact that a snowman must start with the heaviest ball of snow, and progressively get lighter. They can also measure the circumference of each ball and try to find the radius.
Gift wrapping is another activity that many participate in during the winter season. Challenge your child to help measure the correct length of wrapping paper based on the present that will be inside. Start by taking measurements of the gift, and then use those numbers to ensure you will have the appropriate amount of paper before you begin to wrap. This will also tap into your child’s accuracy skills along with attention to detail.
Data collection (Houses, Lights, Decorations)
There is nothing quite like seeing houses lit up with holiday cheer, regardless of the holiday you celebrate yourself. When this time of year rolls around, this can be used as an opportunity to sharpen your child’s data collection skills. Count how many houses on the block have lights
compared to others that have different types of decorations. You can also compare how many houses are lit against how many have no lights at all and see if those numbers change on a weekly basis
Tracking Sunset and Sunrise
We all know that the deeper into winter it gets, the earlier the sun sets and later it rises. Use this as an opportunity for your child to brush up on their time-telling skills. Track what time the sun sets seven days in a row, along with what time it rises (if they are awake). This can be tracked for a month straight before analyzing the data to determine trends, such as the sun setting earlier as the month goes on.
No matter the time of year, keeping your child engaged and exercising their brains is important for their long-term academic success. In addition to finding opportunities to use math around us this winter, Kumon is offering a winter-themed activity sheet that can be found here, for days where you or your child may not want to leave the comfort of home.