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Math Activities for Family Vacation and Holiday Travels

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Travel experience is good for kids. They get opportunities to learn things they would otherwise not being able to. We have a post about how to turn travel experience into a learning experience. Today we share some ideas on math activities for kids during family vacation and holiday travels.

11 Fun Activities for Kids to Do During Travel
Easy math activities for kids during family vacation travel or holiday travel, all you need are paper and pencil. Great activities to show kids how math can be used in every day life and to spark kids' interest in math. There are activities for kids from preschool to middle and high school.
There are many ways kids can learn and practice math during travel.

1. Calculate Gas Mileage: If you are driving, you can fill up your gas tank before you go, then track the miles. Ask kids to keep records of data, and then they can calculate gas mileage.

2. Gas Price Comparisons: write down the gas price for each gas station you see along the road, calculate the average gas price. If you cross states or other region units, you can compare the average gas price between states, or between different brands of gas stations.

3. Calculate Distance or Speed Traveled: keep track of the driving speed, and time of driving, then calculate the total miles traveled. If you are flying, you can get the miles between two airports and time of flying from your plane ticket. With these data, you can calculate the speed of the airplane. It will also be fun to compare the airplane speed with the car speed.

4. Currency Conversions: if you are traveling across countries, you can ask kids help you convert your home currency to that at your travel country, or vice versa. It also helps kids to establish the real sense of money across countries.

5. Calculate Tips: while traveling, you are going to eat out a lot, and it is a perfect opportunity for kids to practice their math skills in figuring out the tips they should leave after the meal.

6. License Plate Games: every one finds a car and write down the license number, if there are letters in it, convert them into numbers based on alphabet order, eg. A is 1, C is 3, Z is 26. The every one add all number digits from that plate together, and compare whose number is the biggest.

7. Map Math: there is no better time to teach kids about maps than traveling time. Before or during the travel, look at the map with kids, point out the map key so they know how long on map represent a mile. You can map out several route choices, and decide together which route you should take.

8. Calculate the Change: When you stop somewhere to buy something, like a drink, give the cash to your child, and ask him/her how much change he/she should expect back. When he/she gets the change, ask him/her to count to make sure it is right.

9. Count Cars by Colors or Types: along the road, ask kids to count the cars they see, they can even keep track of cars by color or by type, such as trucks, sedan, SUV. If kids are up to it, you can ask them to make a chart of it, and compare to see which color/type of cars are seen the most.

10. Magic Number of the Day: at the beginning of each day, pick a magic number of the day, then every one will look for signs with that magic number and call out. The person finds the most magic numbers win for the day. You can decide on a prize each day, like a sticker, a special treat at night.

11. Telling Time: Before you start the trip, either by car or by airplane, watch your clock or watch and learn the time. Then tell kids how long it is going to take, and ask them to calculate the time you may arrive the destination. For younger kids, you must be careful to tell them it is an estimate, and explain the meaning of estimation to them, so they are not going to keep asking if the estimated time is up but you are still not there yet.

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Looking for more fun math activities for kids while traveling? Check out 45 Math Games Grouped by Age and Learning Objectives and 10 Free Math Apps for Kids
Math games for kids grouped by age and learning objective
free math apps for elementary school age kids
You will also like 9 Free Math Websites for Kids
9 free math programs for kids available on iPad


Photo credit: free digital photos.net

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Roadschooling - Families Homeschooling on the Road

    These are Great ideas! Thank you for sharing them 😉

    • Glad you like them. I like them for being so practical, and kids see how math is used in real life.

  • swapna

    These are some interesting ideas! Will keep in mind 🙂

    • I enjoy these activities, as they tie to our real life, so kids can actually see how math can be used in our everyday life.

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