Summer Math Ideas for 3rd Grade

  • In third grade, students learn to multiply & divide within 100, add & subtract 3-digit numbers, develop fraction concepts, measure area, perimeter & elapsed time, reason about shapes and their attributes, and create picture and bar graphs. Students also solve one–and two-step word problems using all four operations. The intention of these summer activities is to promote engaging and fun learning experiences for students and their families, maintaining math knowledge and skills throughout the summer.

    1. Snack Math - Involve your child when you notice yourself using division to “work backwards” in multiplication. For example, based on the available number of baby carrots/grapes/goldfish in the bag, how many would your child and his or her siblings get at snack time? Ask your child to help you make equal groups to prove his or her thinking.

    2. It’s About Time - What time is it now? If our dish needs to cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes, what time will we need to take it out of the oven? Have your child help determine the end time for the recipe, and then have him or her watch the clock instead of setting a kitchen timer. These short “CyberChase” videos from PBS will help explain the math concepts of time remaining and elapsed time.

    3. Graph It! - Make a bar or picture graph showing the different color shirts or types of clothes in your closet. Be sure to organize the data in a chart, then make the graph with a title, labels, and scale.

    4. Fraction Fun

    • 100% delicious: Use ice cream to make fraction sundaes. Can you make an ice cream sundae that is one-half vanilla and one-half chocolate? What about one-third chocolate, one-third vanilla, and one-third strawberry? Can you cover a scoop of ice cream with one-quarter each nuts, sprinkles, cookie crumbs, and gummy bears? Or can you eat a bite of ice cream that is one-half chocolate, one-half vanilla?
    • Napkin Fractions-fold paper towels or napkins into large and small fractions, from one-half, one-third, one-fourth, one-sixth, and one-eighth. Use markers to label and decorate the different fractions. Find equivalent fractions and explain why the fractions are equivalent.

    5. What’s the Area? - Find the area of things around the house (rectangular rug, bath math, towel, blanket, tablet/laptop screen, book/magazine cover, dining room table, patio, etc.) by measuring the length and width to nearest whole inches or feet and multiplying dimensions.

    6. Open Middle Problems Try out these challenging open-ended problems! Many ways to solve and often multiple correct answers.

    7. Practice Math Facts While Playing Outside

    • Jump to it! With sidewalk chalk, draw boxes with answers to multiplication facts your child is currently studying. Show or say the multiplication fact and ask your child to run to the box with the correct answer. Play with division facts too!
    • Run a math facts race. Write a series of math facts on the sidewalk using chalk and challenge your child to “race” from start to finish. Your child can shout out the answer for each equation as he or she hops, skips, and runs to complete their facts and beat their best time.
    • Number Splash. This outdoor activity involves sidewalk chalk and water balloons! Draw circles and write out answers to any math facts or math practice, using sidewalk chalk. Call out the equation and have your child throw the water balloon on the correct answer.

    8. Multiplication Fact Practice

    • Multiplication Subitizing Cards: Print and cut out the dot cards. Flip over a card and ask your child to tell how many dots they see and how they see them. Encourage them to see equal groups to determine the product on each card.

    • Play WAR: For a twist on the traditional card game, remove the king, queen, ace, and jack (use number cards only). Share the cards among two people. Each person lays one card face up. The first one to multiply the numbers correctly wins both cards. Continue until all cards are gone. Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.

    9. Online Games & Activities

    10. Read Math Literature Books - If you visit the public library over the summer or want to add books to your home library, consider a math literature book that will allow your child to practice their reading and math skills.Visit for book ideas and links to activities to do after reading.