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Have fun with maths and literacy this summer

NSW Department of Education 3 mins read

Media release


Wednesday 20 December 2023


Have fun with maths and literacy this summer


Whether it’s on the family road trip, on the beach or in the bush, there are plenty of opportunities to have fun with maths and literacy during the holidays.


Holidays are for relaxing but can also include fun activities for young brains so they’re primed and ready for a new school year.


Road trips, bushwalks, hosting family and friends, or simply playing outdoors or indoors present lots of options for having fun with words or the magic of maths.


The Department’s Everyday Maths Hub has suggestions for keeping young people entertained while adding to their day-to-day maths skills, and there are many old and new word games to keep children’s literacy up to speed over the holidays.


The leader of Mathematics Professional Learning, Michelle Tregoning, says with maths at the heart of everyday life there’s always plenty of opportunity to practise maths skills during the break.


“Whether it’s working out how to spend your Christmas money, how to beat your brother, sister, or favourite aunty in the next game you play, or working out what time you need to leave home to get to the movies on time, we all use maths, all of the time, every day.” said Michelle.


“That’s why we’re sharing so many maths opportunities for families to have fun playing with our online holiday maths ideas.


“It might be on the road, exploring outdoors or taking on a holiday project - there are lots of fun ideas to appeal to a broad age range and get the adults involved as well.”


The suggestions include:


  • the suitable suitcase - understanding about size and shape while packing a suitcase
  • car cricket – spot a car with a common colour and score a run, find a rare colour and hit a four or a six, see a B-double and you’re out? – house rules apply!
  • swimming pool bingo – guess how many strokes it takes to go a certain distance – closest wins


and for those who’re a little older:


  • geography geometry – get a grip on direction, distance and scale by navigating with a map
  • bushwalking by numbers – use a compass and a map to track your way through the bush
  • picture perspectives – explore angles and effects with some creative photography


Kristie O’Neill, the Director, Literacy and Numeracy, say holidays are also the perfect time for parents and carers to continue reading with children and follow through with extra ideas.


“From writing down plans for a holiday with children, to talking about place names, street names and signs when you’re out and about or keeping a holiday diary or photos with captions, the opportunities are limitless,” said Kristie.


“There are many structured games like crosswords, Scrabble, Bananagrams and Scattergories to play together traditionally or online, as well as informal games that don’t need any equipment at all.”


A family’s word game collection might include:


  • the traditional favourite “I Spy”, which is always open to variation with multiple words in a phrase
  • take it in turns to find “Words that rhyme with…”
  • spot the letters to spell your name
  • the memory game “My aunt went to Paris and with her she took…” – the first person names something the aunt took that starts with “A”, the second person repeats that and adds something beginning with “B” etc through to “Z”; as a real test, after “Z” the next person has to go backwards through the alphabet
  • story time: making up stories starting with “What would you do if…”; the story can be as long, short, believable or unbelievable as you like.


“Whatever suits the time and participants is good – it all keeps brains active,” said Kristie.

Contact details:

02 7814 1559

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