25 Ways to Practice Math at the Pool

25 Ways to Practice Math at the Pool 

It’s hot. It’s sunny. You might feel like you have to choose between keeping your kids’ minds active and doing something like heading to the pool. Well, why not do both!? Below you can find simple ideas to sneak in some math practice at the pool. We have the ideas divided by grade levels so you can dive on in!

Preschool and Kindergarten

  • Ask kids to walk around the pool and count how many steps it takes
  • Use a yard stick or other long object to measure the depth of the pool at different spots
  • Bring along a set of measuring cups and have kids measure different amounts of water into a bucket
  • Look at the clock at the beginning of rest break and have kids read the clock to figure out when the 15-minute rest break will end
  • Use a stopwatch to help kids figure out how long it takes to walk around the pool
  • Guess whether certain objects will sink or float, and then place them in the water to see what they do. Talk about the different traits of the objects to help understand why they sink or float
  • Find different shapes around the pool. For example, a diving board is a rectangle
  • Number a set of diving rings or sticks and toss them in a shallow part of the pool. Have kids collect them in order
  • Play “What time is it, Mr. Shark?”, a version of “What time is it, Mr. Wolf?” to help kids build their counting skills

First through Third Grade

  • Use a measuring tape to figure out the perimeter of the pool
  • Take a standard object, such as a shoe or pool noodle, and see how many it would take to span the entire length of the pool
  • Estimate how long it would take to fill the entire pool
  • Compete to see who can hold their breath under water the longest, using the stopwatch or just counting to track time
  • Figure how long the walk or the drive to the pool takes. Try multiple routes to see which is fastest
  • Focus on weight and volume by dropping pool-friendly items of different weights into the water and see which one makes the biggest splash. You can do the same with kids of different sizes
  • Head to the concession stand and figure out all the possible combinations of food you could buy with a given amount of money
  • Write numbers on ping pong balls and throw them in the pool. Read out addition or subtraction problems and have kids scramble to grab the ping pong ball with the correct answer
  • Throw a handful of coins into the bottom of the pool and have kids dive to collect specific amounts of money

Fourth through Sixth Grade

  • Calculate the total area of the pool
  • Determine how many people could fit in the pool at once
  • Figure out the volume of the pool and how many gallons of water it contains
  • Time how long it takes to swim from one end of the pool to the other or how long it takes to jump off the diving board and hit the water
  • Race against other kids to see who is the fastest swimmer, using a stopwatch to officially clock times
  • Grab some pH strips and test the pH levels in the pool. While technically a science skill, kids will learn to read a mathematical-style chart
  • Write products on a bunch of Frisbees. Write multiplication problems on sponges. Place the Frisbees in the pool and have kids toss the sponges on to the correct products

Next time you head to the pool, grab this list, a stopwatch, and a few other supplies to help your kids learn a little while they cool off. We hope your pool time/math time goes swimmingly!

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