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Keep the Math Skills Strong with Math Blaster (& a Giveaway)

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS: cksu1296@, themaliam@, jeremy_laina@

Summertime can be the season when skills your kids has learned in school start to slip a little. Teachers often call this the “summer slide.” It’s not a huge deal, but it can be frustrating to kids and parents alike to return to regular lessons in the Fall and find out that some lessons need to be relearned. This is particularly true where reading and math skills are concerned.

So, to keep your kids sharp, it’s good to practice a little summer learning. I believe that learning is naturally fun. That is to say, I think when kids say they don’t like school, it’s not the learning they don’t like, it’s the aspects of following someone else’s agenda as well as tackling a difficult task that bristles.

Case in point: My nine-year old says he doesn’t like school. But, he loves to learn. He reads books all the live long day and spouts off information that he’s learned.

Did you know that there’s a plant that is really sticky and stinky that can eat animals?

Did you know that Mount Everest is the highest mountain in the world?

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated?

The kid is absorbing liquid like a dry sponge in a bathtub. But, he gets a sour look on his face when I say, “Have you done your math?” It’s not that he does poorly in math, but he doesn’t want to do it. Plus, there’s that thing with multiplication and division tables. So, one solution that fell into our laps was Math Blaster.

Running inside the Chem Lab of Monster Morph

Math Blaster is a computer game that takes you into outer space. While it’s not a substitute for math instruction, it can be a helpful tool to keeping kids’ math skills sharp over the summer.

From FishBoy9,

It’s kind of nice because you can customize your character before you start playing and then you can play games like Bolt Cruncher where there are robots on a conveyor belt that move toward a mashing machine. You need to refill their batteries so they can get off. To fill their batteries, you need to drag the right fraction to them so they won’t get crushed. So you have to do math to save them.

Each day during our summer break, my kids are doing a daily math or science lesson. Math Blaster is a nice little perk that FishBoy9 can do once his chores and regular math are done.

From the makers of Math Blaster,

Knowledge Adventure is the creator of award-winning educational products like JumpStart and Math Blaster and is trusted by over 20 million parents. You can find our virtual worlds online at MathBlaster and JumpStart. In the Math Blaster galaxy, kids can explore a futuristic world, voyage to strange new planets and discover wacky alien races, all while practicing their math skills. At JumpStart, kids can explore magical worlds, discover and unlock games, videos, and storybooks that teach everything from math to reading.

Win a membership!

This week, three LifeasMOM readers will each win a 3-month membership to MathBlaster.

To Enter:

Leave a comment on this post, telling us what you do to help your kids keep sharp over the summer.

This giveaway will be open until Sunday, 7/3/11, at 8pm PST. The winners will be selected randomly and notified by email, and this post will be updated with their name as well. Please respond within 48 hours to claim your prize.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED. CONGRATS TO THE WINNERS: cksu1296@, themaliam@, jeremy_laina@

Disclosure: I received a review membership to MathBlaster. All opinions are my own.

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Comments

  1. Since we homeschool, I usually have my children do “light” schoolwork all summer to keep them tuned up!

  2. Renata Sommerville says:

    We’re doing Math Monday, Reading Wednesday (not that we don’t read every day!), and Science Saturdays at our house to keep us on our toes this summer.

  3. They have a great program here that has summer school Mon-Thurs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. for 2 weeks and then a week off – 6 weeks for the whole summer – u had to be recommended by your teacher and it was optional – but for my one son that has some learning issues this has been great – they make it fun with store money on Thursdays for completing work that you can buy little trinkets and snacks every day – I think for children that need that little extra “oomph” this is a nice way to keep them moving forward during the summer

  4. We “do school” on a much lighter schedule – just math and reading. We also do a lot that my boys don’t consider school like nature walks and board games.

  5. We join up with our library summer reading program. My kids read for usually 30 mins or more a day. I also take them to education field trips throughout the summer.

  6. I homeschool as well and have been trying to keep their multiplication skills going with some fun games. This sounds like a great game and they LOVE playing on the computer, I will check it out, thanks!

  7. HeatherS says:

    We read like crazy, visit places like science centers and this summer will be doing some geography by learning about the countries where our sponsored kids live. We do need to add some math though.

  8. I have a 6, 5, and 2.5 year old at home that I “teach” each summer. I normally do a letter a day, and we focus on things that relate to that letter (for example, “B” day, we went to a local “B”ee Farm). This summer, though, since my kids are older and know their letters, I am now focusing on building words with the letters they have. Each week we focus on a character trait (this week is “Respect”), a Bible story that goes with the trait, and then writing skills. They LOVE it! (BTW, I get my curriculum from Hubbard’s Cupboard).

  9. I would love to win! I homeschool and my boys are rusty after a week off let alone after summer vacation! This would be great!

  10. My kids go to public school but during the summer I plan “units” based o their different interests. Each “unit” has crafts, books, movies, activities, writing, cooking and a field trip. Helps keep up their skills!

  11. We visit the library at least once a week – the older kids read to the younger ones – our teachers send home special math packets and reading assignments to keep them going all summer!

  12. Jennifer B. says:

    We have been doing math flash cards to work on those dreaded multiplication tabes and a math workbook page every day!

  13. We do a math lesson and a writing lesson every morning.

  14. Leslie M.P. says:

    This year we are homeschooling through the awful heat of summer. We took most of our time off during the beautiful spring weather. So, we are keeping sharp by a doing school Tuesday-Thursdays (so we have a little wiggle room for meeting up with friends and other outings) this summer.

  15. The kids (ages 6 and 10) have math workbooks and they do anywhere from 5 to 10 pages per day during the summer. The math skills seem the first to fade if we don’t keep it up. They like reading enough that they don’t need much incentive although the various reading programs at the local library and bookstores help them keep track.

  16. Sue Rogers says:

    We are working with flash cards and math games to learn the multiplication tables. We also do the Summer Reading program through our local library. Science is everyday as it presents itself.

  17. Charlene says:

    We’re going to the reading program at the public library. Also, my kids have been “playing school” and doing math and reading on their own. I’ve always been very inconsistent about doing reinforcement during the summer. I’m taking my own classes and have a hard time planning stuff for them. Something fun like Math blaster, or other math or fun games on the computer might be a good option.

  18. Great ideas! We have been trying to have devotions together, and then picking a verse to memorize. So by the end of the summer, I am hoping for it to become more of a habit–missing it when we are not refreshed with God’s Words in our life. Fun time together, too–has spurred into other conversations. One not-so-school approach to keep the mind working!

  19. Sheryl F. says:

    I have added learning games to my phone. They practice their math daily without even realizing it.

  20. Susan T says:

    I want to enroll them in the summer reading program. This math program sounds great!

  21. My emergent reader is earning buttons by reading to us this summer. Buttons can be redeemed at the end of the summer for a Lego set.

  22. Tracey H says:

    We work on math and writing worksheets for about 20 minutes in the morning and then plenty of reading throughout the day! Love all the ideas.

  23. We’re doing work and play in the mornings and rest and reading in the afternoons. My kids love the rhythm of the days, and they seem to be reading a lot.

  24. We homeschool as well and have been using the Key To Fractions and the Key to Decimals books this summer. This math sounds like something my boys would sure enjoy doing a little more though!

  25. elizabeth says:

    We make many trips to the library plus I ask each of my kids to write in a journal every day. I need help on the math part!

  26. kelly ringle says:

    I bought workbooks for my daughter & I print out math worksheets from http://www.dadsworksheets.com/. They are free & Emily loves them!!
    Kelly

  27. Angeline says:

    We have been having a lot of discussions involving money and the economy. My boys, ages 13, 10, and 4 1/2, have a lot of questions wondering what to do with their allowances.

  28. Kristiana says:

    I have my school-aged kids do one worksheet a day, we read a lot, do flashcards and geography puzzles, and take advantage of the free programs our library offers.

  29. Evelyn R says:

    We have quiet time every afternoon during which we all read. ( me too!)

  30. We’re reading as much as we can! I wanted my daughter to progress in basic reading and math skills. We’ve been doing well on the reading, but could use extra practice on math. This would be terrific! :)

  31. Melissa says:

    We use our library endlessly and read, read, read. We also do a lot of cooking to keep up on math skills.

  32. So- this is our first real week of no school and so far so good. I have a son,who will be in 1st grade and a daughter going into kindergarten… I am keeping it pretty simple. For my son, we purchased a reading program called Headsprout that we are doing 3 times a week and that my daughter, will be starting. As for math… Money – earning, counting, saving, spending… A math program sounds awesome. :)

  33. We go to the library every week, the kids read a lot. We have a membership to a planatarium, and we try to go on lots of “field trips” during the summer.

  34. Deborah says:

    We have joined our library reading programs. We read every day and work on flash cards and worksheets. We incorporate educational activities into our errands and day trips. They have so much fun they don’t realize they are learning.

  35. I make sure that she keeps reading and doing math with lots of different activities over the summer.

  36. Victoria R. says:

    Each of my school age children has a summer bridging workbook they work on every day. We also participate in the summer reading program at our local library.

  37. We tend to incorporate math facts into every day life. When we are cooking, while playing at the park (we play a fun math game on the jungle gym that gets their brain and body moving), when we are swimming, etc..

    Depending on which kid is with me (I’ve got 5 from 3 to 19) I will make it harder or easier.

  38. Sheri Ollar says:

    Since we homeschool we feel that we are always learning on a daily basis. During the summer though we don’t push as hard, instead we head to the library. I am so proud to say that my boys instantly head to the nonfiction books to learn about animals, bugs, submarines….the list goes on and on. I head to the video section for fun learning dvd’s.

  39. We stay sharp by reading out loud every day, using the dice to place “monster math” games, and writing in a summer journal. It’s a start. #1 son would LOVE math blaster! Thanks for the chance to try it out.

  40. We homeschool, but during the summer I have the kids read everyday for 45 minutes and do a lesson of math in their Teaching Textbooks. They dont’t usually mind since it’s an hour a day.

  41. Jenelle says:

    I love this idea, since it combines something my boys love w/something educational, especially for summer!

  42. AllieZirkle says:

    We have handwritting, math skills review, and research skills fun.

    :) Allie

  43. In the summer I print out free online math and reading comprehension worksheets for my kids. I also look for fun learning games for my computer-loving son. MathBlaster sounds perfect for all three of my elementary aged kids!

  44. We had Math Blaster on CD-Rom when it had first come out. What a fun game!

  45. I still make them do math over the summer. They also read a lot of books any moment they can.

  46. My 9 year old loves math and we are looking for ways to keep his skills sharp other than the sumer bridge workbooks. This would be awesome!

  47. I’ve hired a tutor. My kids love Mathblaster, but I’ve never seen any math on the site!

  48. We are trying to do a writing lesson and a math lesson every day during the summer to keep our skills up. I am using Games for Math by Peggy Kaye. My children have loved every game in this book that we have played and the best part is they are having fun and learning! We also have a half an hour in the afternoon that everyone is required to read.

  49. We try to include a little “school” each day, whether it is reading time, flash cards, music lessons etc. Sometimes we slip but usually the kids are eager to “do school” time at home, even in the summer. The kids also like to play school with the older kids teaching the younger ones….even our littlest get involved as teacher by “teaching the baby how to sit” and simply working with the baby on milestone skills. Everyone likes a chance to be teacher!

  50. Jenny L. says:

    My girls would enjoy this!

  51. We practice lots of reading, going to the library a lot, and working on flashcards and games. This would be great! They have played on there a bit….martha(at)lclink(dot)com

  52. 3 of our kids are on tracks, new to us for the past 2 years, so they really don’t have a long break. 3 weeks until the next grade! One of our son’s has autism so we keep them refreshed daily with reading, going over what we learned and other fun websites.

  53. We homeschool, so we plan more like a 6 week break in the summer so we can take more spontaneous time off and more time off over Christmas, so we don’t have the same problem or at least not to the same degree. But we read a lot over the summer and do some “stealthy” math in baking etc.

    But MathBlaster looks like a lot more fun than stealthy math!

  54. I give them worksheets for math, they read and I quiz on spelling words.

  55. Stacey Mitchell says:

    My son does workbook pages daily & silent reading daily on weekdays. I am trying to prevent the summer slide. He earns computer time by doing his work.

  56. My son starts pre-algebra next year. I am preparing him by using http://www.khanacademy.org. It is a great resource for math tutorials and you can log in via google account and take test/quizes to track your progress. Excellent resource.

  57. misty gorman says:

    we have 30 minutes daily of journal writing, letter practice and math skills. then, we read 20 minutes together every night. we go to the library once a week and participate in all kinds of fun and free programs there. the kids don’t every fight me on the work. we make it fun and we do it together. time well spent, together:) math blaster would also be a great incentive!

  58. We do fun brain.com, reading silently, reading out loud, and my oldest is doing Saxon math over the summer.

  59. We participate in our library reading program. We also do a bridge workbook.

  60. Reading…Reading….Reading….but we do need to add in some math to keep the facts in our heads! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  61. We keep sharp with regular visits to the library, vacation bible school, and flashcards at dinnertime. We make it a game and reward them with trips to get ice cream and such. Thanks for all the giveaways!

  62. Most of our summer school is reading & field trips but we do try to practice math skills at least once a week. Thanks for the give away!
    (P.S. My son really liked FishBoy9’s product review. )

  63. I purchased BellWork Summer Connections workbooks for my kids. They are GREAT!! Also, by using online math games and having quiet reading time.

  64. Oh, I loved Math Blaster when I was a teacher. Our girls are preschool age, so we just keep it simple and talk about everyday math when we see it, time, shapes, fractions, etc.

  65. We homeschool, so I have the kids do a bit of math throughout the summer – Saxon facts sheets, math games, etc. They actually enjoy the Saxon fact sheets, so they don’t mind doing them over the summer and it keeps them fresh and sharp while this homeschooling mommy gets her break from school. :-D

  66. Wow! Math Blaster sure does look a lot nicer now than it did about 20 years ago when I learned my times tables with it! :)

  67. My oldest actually asks me to print off math worksheets for him to do lol. Getting him to read is another story :/

  68. My younger son is in summer school from 9-12 for 5 weeks in the Japanese Immersion program. I don’t want him to lose his language skills over the summer. I enrolled my older son in a digital photography class. Although it is not academic, he is still learning new skills. I also I let them play educational games on the computer.

  69. Betsy M says:

    I just try to incorporate the “learning” into everyday life. Our camping trip last week brought about a long discussion or two about glaciers and topography and the cooking entails working with fractions and adding (tripling the recipe). There is lots of gardening/science going on and reading is a constant.

  70. My son is a little too young for me to keep him sharp over the summer, but as a current public-school elementary teacher, I have some ideas!

    I encourage my students to read as much as they can over the summer and suggest participating in summer reading programs at the library, or book stores like BandN, Borders etc. They typically do a book log that you complete and turn in for a free book.

    For Math, I encourage them to do math activities “in the real world”, like estimating the cost of the groceries, and then checking their answer at the register. Definitely keep those math facts, especially mulitplication sharp!

    For Science, keep a weather journal for each day. Predict the next day’s weather and then see if you are right.

    One website I found this school year that I utilized A LOT was http://www.superteacherworksheets.com
    Has free printable sheets on just about any topic you need; answer keys included!

    MathBlaster looks really interesting. I wonder if they give memberships to schools?

  71. Melissa says:

    My daughter does Math Magician for math and she picks books out at the library for reading. In July she will also be going to a tutor twice a week for extra help in Math (mainly multiplication). I am a certified teacher but I cannot teach my own child, I put to much pressure on her.

  72. Dot-to-dots up to a hundred and random writing/math worksheets and level 1 readers. (He is now writing “letter” words like “Dear” because he wants to write to Grandma.) He’s going into k-5. I tell him we can’t let his fingers forget. We call out random “plus 2’s.”My almost 4-year-old daughter does a lighter version and paints like crazy. We do the summer reading program and they are thrilled to get the ice cream cone and prize (we can’t do many treats health and allergy-wise.) I don’t think our reading amount is any different though–it’s quite a bit all the time. We are also going the the aquarium, going camping, raising a garden, and other such mischief.

  73. We continue with math, reading and science throughout the summer. I have 3 kids who really do not enjoy “school” so I’m really on the lookout for some funner activities to use for rewards when the harder work is done.

  74. We do very light school work during the summer to keep our skills in check. I get the kiddos summer workbooks, and they must complete before school starts. Reading is a must everyday but they can read what ever they want…. (in reason of course)

  75. victoria says:

    I’ve got five children, four of which i homeschool… 13,10,7,5 and then theres the 2 year old.. i started using khanacademy.org for their math at the beginning of the year.. they “dislike math with a passion” , so anything to make it fun would be an asset..

  76. I pick up the summer bridge books each year and we always have a couple books we read out loud after lunch each day. Summer Bridge is losing its appeal for the kids. I love it though and am resorting to bribery… This game would appeal to my technology lover.

  77. We came up with a theme for our summer this year: Summer Learning, Summer Fun . We learn, we have fun, we have fun learning. I knew I had to keep my schooler interested in learning while school was out and this was a great motivator for him.

  78. We use math workbooks during the summer to help keep our skills sharp. We also pick different topics each week to learn about & we go to the library to do our research & then study all week long on fun things the girls pick out.

  79. We try and make reading part of our summer. And they must keep up with their instruments also. Plus, we do our own cooking camp. They pick a country and do a little research about it. The pick and plan a menu from that region. We all learn something and have a yummy supper too.

  80. Each day, my four year old and I do workbooks for 30 minutes…he has fun and he learns at the same time :).

  81. We homeschool year round so we are always keeping them sharp. We found that they lost too much with long breaks. My son would love to try out Math Blasters.

  82. We review math facts and play online games through free math sites.

  83. Katherine says:

    We participate in as many summer reading programs as we can find. We also try to spend a little time each day brushing up on our skills.

  84. We homeschool as well, but very light in the summer. My kids do about an hour of reading and math, and I usually read to them two or three evenings a week. This leaves plenty of time for playdates, pool time, baseball games, and other fun activities.

  85. sarah v. says:

    We read, read, read! We also do more math riddles and fun things like that it the summer.

  86. We homeschool year-round, but summer work is lighter than during the regular school year. I have the kids do online games and math drills.l

  87. Cynthia says:

    I have my kids do math several days a week (ideally, that is), and we usually do our local library’s summer reading program with the caveat that all the books must be science or history books (or some school-ish subject, at least…whatever I feel they need that summer!)

  88. Steffanie says:

    We have been visiting the library and trying to read aloud a little each day

  89. I love that summer allows us to slow down and enjoy being together. Reading is always important and other learning, such as math, is incorporated with games and hands on activities.

  90. We homeschool all through the year although during the summer months we tend to do more “field trip” activities and things like computer camp or cooking classes. Math and reading are a must though!

  91. Julie A. says:

    We are keeping up with the “morning work” routine that his teacher already set up. He does a combo math/writing sheet each day in the same format as he had in school.

  92. We look for math opportunities in everyday activities. Measurements in food servings and items to multiply are our current favorites!

  93. Shannon says:

    Math Blaster sounds like a fun way to keep math skills sharp over the summer!

  94. Michele Laramay says:

    I always have good intentions over summer break (we homeschool), but in Northern New York summers are shooorrrtttt and we rarely follow through on my good intentions. This sounds like a great way to do better at that.

  95. Alycia M says:

    We homeschool year round in order to have a flexible schedule to take time off whenever we want to throughout the year. So we’re still “in school”, however, I know my son would absolutely love this!

  96. School doesn’t ever really stop here since we homeschool but it does change speed & flavor in the summer. This week we’ve been doing a lot art and we combined it with math–weird? No–we did color by numbers that required some computation to come up with the color to use. VERY fun my 12 yo said–no babyish like regular color by numbers! SCORE!

  97. My daughter just finished 1st grade in public school. We’re doing a little bit of math, reading and handwriting at least 4 days a week. So far it’s going well, I think Math Blaster could be a great addition to our daily routine.

  98. Reading, trips to library, fun summer trips like children’s museum, and each day, each child picks one topic we’re going to research and learn about that day. Math Blaster would be a great addition!

  99. We read a lot but as homeschoolers, we really don’t take off the whole summer. We begin again and school a few days a week so we really don’t worry about losing skills.

  100. We read daily, practice math facts & take part in our local library programs. Mathblaster sounds like alot of fun.

  101. Stephanie R says:

    I have four kids but I am just getting started in the academic world. My oldest will be going into 1st greade this fall so I am defiently trying to figure out ways to keep her excitement for learning up during the summer. We are reading and have a chart where she and her 4 yr old brother can earn books by reading. So far so good. But I really need to add some math too. Seems like math blaster may be a good tool.

  102. Emily Bylund says:

    I loved math blaster when I was an elementary teacher. I had forgotten all about it but think my daughter would definitely benefit.

  103. I make sure the kids read regularly – easier said than done with the kids who don’t enjoy reading much. We also pick a read aloud and read that together sporadically (just can’t seem to carve out a consistent time with the summer schedule!). The older kids have math packets and “book reports” to complete so they will start working on those next week (I give them a full week off with just reading, no math). This looks like a fun way to keep my “homework averse” son sharp with math without seeming like drudgery.

  104. Summer school.

  105. We don’t homeschool, but we are always learning! One of my favorites is the dry erase books that the kids can practice letters, numbers, matching, patterns, sounds, etc. The books can get pretty beatup, but for only 4 bucks apiece, they’ve really paid off! My oldest will be starting first grade, and the amount of time the kids spend learning on the computer already is fascinating! Children need to be proficient on the computer earlier and earlier these days, and my daughter Josie would love to try and master this math game! Thanks!

  106. We use Right Start Math Games. They are great and fun to boot. I need to get them out again now that summer has settled a bit.

  107. I have been using myjobchart.com for chores, math, and reading for the summer for my 2 boys (6 and 7). Each day we focus on a different math concept and I print out worksheets for them to do. They love checking off that they’ve done their math. For reading they alternate reading to each other and reading to me. So far they’ve done way more in school work this summer than last!

  108. Erin Slattery says:

    Lots of learning through fun summer activities, cooking, crafts.

  109. With three little ones (6,4,3) we never stop learning. After breakfast every morning we do “homework”, which includes reading, counting, handwriting and read alouds. My son, especially needs some fun to make things enjoyable. Thanks for making the post.

  110. Rebekah says:

    We do workbooks during the summer!!

  111. Tammy Lindner says:

    We always do the summer reading program at the library, the zoo “fill in the blank” worksheet, and we do random math worksheets that I can either print off of the computer or use the workbooks that the teachers send home with the kiddos for summer break. Thank you for the chance to win!

  112. @Janet, Fortunately, my son has fun doing math problems, so he enjoys a math workbook for fun!

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