The summer slide: it’s not just about losing ground. Get your kids racing their Hot Wheels cars down an inclined plane, and you could help them keep their math and language skills in gear all summer. And who doesn’t love a toy that gives extra mileage? (I’m all out of slide and car puns now. Promise.)
Hot Wheels has great resources available to parents and teachers to help kids from JK-Grade One maintain their learning through summer play. From making predictions to taking measurements, there are endless ways to incorporate math and language skills into car play. Hot Wheels sent us some of their sets, and we took them to school for the kids in my son’s Grade 1 class to build and share in the last days of the school year. The kids read the instructions, assembled the kits (with a bit of adult help) and then played with the fruits of their labour. (Your kids can get in on this too! Hot Wheels has a programme to get their toys into schools. You can apply here.)
More and more, education in preschool and the early grades is play-based, active, and tactile. By teaching math and measurement through play, we can engage tactile and kinetic learners who thrive on movement and touch. By asking a few simple questions during organic car play, we can keep learning alive and active all summer long. One of the most magical things about putting this kind of thing into practice is seeing how quickly it becomes part of the kids’ own method of play.
If your house is anything like mine, the Hot Wheels cars appear to reproduce like gremlins over night. Put those toys to work!
- Ask, “How many cars long is your bed?” (Estimating, then counting and measuring)
- Line up some cars in a simple colour pattern and ask, “What colour comes next?” (Patterning, colour recognition)
- Line up the cars at the end of play time and ask “How many cars in the parking lot?” (Counting, patterning, estimating)
- Take the play outside! Use sidewalk chalk to create city streets and landmarks (school, library, hospital). Give driving instructions to the Hot Wheels driver: “Take the first left. Drive two blocks. Turn right. Where are you?” (Orientation, instructions, reading and writing)
There are lots of ideas on the Hot Wheels FUNdamentals web site, as well as activity sheets to download. Both incorporate learning so organically, the kids won’t even know you’re sneaking some learning in with their summer fun.