Keeping Math Skills Sharp Over the Summer: Unlocking Success with Digital Escape Rooms

A summer beach scene with a palm tree and feet of a person in a hammock. Text reads, "Avoid the Summer Slide." In this case, this statement refers to avoiding skill loss for students over summer vacation, specifically with math.
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Kiersten Williams

Creator & Author

Ah, summer break—a time for relaxation, fun, and soaking up the sun. But wait! We don’t want those hard-earned math skills to fade away while kids are out enjoying the warm weather. Did you know that students can lose two to three months of math skills over the summer? When I taught in the classroom, I often felt discouraged by how much time was spent reviewing at the beginning of each year. As a homeschool parent, I was able to help my kids maintain their skills over the summer. We would often end up skipping the first 60 or so math lessons each year!

During the summer break, students commonly experience a phenomenon known as the “summer slide,” which refers to the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the vacation period. When it comes to mathematics, research has shown that students can lose approximately two to three months’ worth of math skills during this time, making it a subject particularly susceptible to skill regression. The absence of regular math practice and exposure to new concepts during the summer months contributes to this decline. As a result, students may find themselves starting the new school year at a lower level of math proficiency than when they left for summer break. This decline in math skills can have a cumulative effect over the years, leading to a significant gap in mathematical abilities between students who actively engage in math practice during the summer and those who do not. Recognizing the potential impact of this skill loss, it becomes essential to implement effective strategies to keep math skills sharp and prevent the summer slide.

If you’re worried about your children or students suffering the dreaded summer slide, there are ways this can be avoided. I remember buying workbooks for my kids, with high hopes that they’d do a few pages a day over the summer. They often started off strong, but by the end of summer, only the first handful of pages had been completed. I get it; worksheets just aren’t engaging. There is a more engaging solution that will help to keep math abilities sharp and all summer long: digital escape rooms! Educational escape rooms are an innovative and engaging way to keep math skills sharp and even strengthen skills, all while encouraging active learning.

Digital escape rooms are online games that capture students’ attention by challenging them to solve puzzles, uncover hidden clues, and ultimately “escape” from a captivating scenario. The benefits of these interactive activities are manifold. They foster critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, and engagement, all while delivering an entertaining experience. When I began creating escape rooms, my kids always asked for more. Instead of workbooks collecting dust on a shelf, the online escape rooms were completed repeatedly. My kids actually asked if I had any more escape rooms they could do!

See how a digital escape room works:

One of the key advantages of digital escape rooms is that they promote active learning. These games require active participation, compelling kids to apply their math knowledge in real-world scenarios. Through the puzzles and challenges embedded within escape rooms, students develop essential skills such as logical reasoning and strategic thinking, which are instrumental in solving math problems. Math can even be social! A summer playdate can turn into an opportunity for learning as many escape rooms encourage teamwork, fostering collaboration as kids work together to overcome math-related challenges. By infusing an element of gamification, digital escape rooms enhance student engagement and motivation, making math practice an enjoyable (and yes, maybe even fun) experience.

So where do you start? We’ve got over 100 different escape room challenges. Some are specifically designed to cover a variety of skills for a specific grade level (check out the back to school or end of the year activities), while others hone in more on skills such as adding fractions, rounding numbers, or order of operations. You can search our store by grade level to find and try out an escape room with your child over the summer. They are completely automated & self-checking, offering hints and tips to keep students from getting frustrated. A full answer key is also included with each of our products, so parents and teachers can better assist students if they get stuck.

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