Grade 3

Dear Parents of Third Grade Graduates,

Congratulations to you and your child on the completion of another successful school year! Your child has worked very hard this year on our third grade math curriculum and s/he should feel very proud. In a few short months your child will be entering fourth grade and will be encountered with new math adventures and challenges. To help ensure that s/he is fully prepared, s/he must be sure to frequently practice her/his math skills over the summer. The activities included in this letter are designed to help you and your child do just that. Good luck and have fun with your child! Remember, math is everywhere; you just have to look for it! 

Ms. Burbank, Mrs. Farley, and Mrs. Strachman
A huge part of third grade has been spent mastering addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts with automaticity. As a fourth grader, these skills will be absolutely essential. It is imperative that you help your child to keep these skills sharp. To help do this, we recommend practice, practice, practice. Fact practice can take the form of flashcards, computer games, or oral questioning while you are driving in the car or making dinner. PLEASE help your child to ensure that basic facts do not have to be relearned in the fall. We are well aware that summertime is a time for family and fun and math practice can easily be just that. In fact, child and parent games are the best way to practice math skills. There are many commercial games that can be used to practice math skills and have lots of fun family time all at once. 

Math Games

Some games that are fun to play and promote the development of math skills include:
  • Rummy
    Card Games
  • Uno
  • Solitaire
  • Monopoly,
  • Scrabble,
  • Risk
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Dominoes,
  • Horseshoes
  • Yahtzee
  • S'Math

Math Web Sites

Most children love to play on the computer and there are many great Internet sites that allow children to practice different math skills in a fun format. The material that is posted on these sites may change frequently so we advise that if you choose this option that you explore these sites with your child.
  • offers games like math baseball and mathcar racing to practice basic facts.
  • is described as an "amusement park of math." This site even has a math vocabulary word search.
  • includes online interactive flashcards for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. There are many great workbooks and skill books available for your child to use to practice different third grade skills. If you and your child choose to use this option, please be sure that your child is having her/his work checked by an adult on a regular basis so that she or he is not practicing skills incorrectly.

Math Everyday Activities

Math can be integrated into everyday summer life; you just have to know where to look. Here are some ideas from on how to practice math skills with your children in your everyday life. (You can feel free to adapt these ideas as necessary to meet the needs of your child.)
  • Estimate the weight of a household object. Ask your child to guess the weight of the family cat, a dictionary, a glass of water. Then use the scale to find out the real weight. Have him estimate his own weight, and that of other family members. Were his estimates on target?
  • Buy your child a watch with an hour and second hand. Periodically ask him to tell you what time it is. Ask questions like: "If Arthur comes on at 4 p.m., how many more minutes do you have to wait?" "It takes me 15 minutes to drive to the store. Do I have time to get there before it closes at 5 p.m.?"
  • Use M&M's to teach fractions. Have your child count the M&M pieces in a bag. Then sort them by color. Count the number of green M&M's to find out what fraction of all of the candy is that color. Do the same with the other colors. Eat the results.
  • Fold a napkin. An idea from the U.S. Department of Education: Fold paper towels or napkins into large and small fractions. Start with halves, then move to quarters, then eighths, and finally 16ths. Use magic markers to label the fractions.

  • Play card games. War and Go Fish are classic card games that reinforce basic math concepts such as greater and less than, as well as grouping by category.
  • Host a book or toy exchange party. Have each child bring along four or five used books or toys to sell; price all the books under one dollar (24 cents, 60 cents, etc.). Give each child one dollar in play money to spend and let them sort through the selection for about 15 minutes. When it's time to pay for the books, help the children count out the money and determine whether they have any left over or have gone over their budget. This activity reinforces making change and money skills.
  • Measure your family. The National PTA recommends this family activity: Use a tape measure or ruler to record the heights of everyone in your family. Total the inches to see how "tall" you are all together. Try it again with everyone's weight. A good way to practice adding two-digit numbers.

  • Play board games that use counting and paper money. Games such as Monopoly Junior are aimed at ages 5 through 8 but are still fun for parents or older siblings.

  • Play with money. This is a family game: The goal is to be the first player to win a set amount of money (75 cents, 50 cents). Roll a pair of dice. Each person gets the number of pennies shown on the dice. As each player gets five pennies, replace them with a nickel. Replace ten pennies with a dime, and so on. The first player to reach the set amount wins. This game reinforces grouping skills, and counting by fives.

  • Plan and shop for a meal. Give your child the grocery circular from the newspaper. Give him a budget ($30, $50) and have him plan a dinner for your family. If he goes over the budget, what can he subtract? If he has money left over, what else can he buy? Then go to the store and shop for the items together. Did his estimates match the real total?
  • Play a guessing game. A good one for a car trip: Have your child think of a number between one and 100. Try to guess the number by asking questions such as "Is it greater than 50?" "Is it between 35 and 55?" Then switch roles and have your child do the guessing.
  • Make a recipe with your child. Give your child the measuring cups, measuring spoons, and bowls and read him the directions as he does the work. An easy–and delicious–way to introduce concepts such as volume, weight, and fractions.

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