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20 mathematical activities for the school holidays

Tuesday 1st August 2017

Welcome to the Transum mathematics newsletter for August 2017 wherever in the world you are. Some of you are enjoying the long school summer holidays while for others it is business as usual. Before getting on to the main theme of this missive let’s begin with this month’s puzzle.I have randomly selected two different whole numbers. They aren’t both odd. What is the probability that they are both even?The answer is at the end of this newsletter but now let’s move on to the main theme of the moment which is about children continuing their learning during the school holidays. Research indicates that by the end of the long summer holiday pupils perform, on average, one month behind where they left off in the spring. The Transum website has plenty of suggestions for activities that will keep children thinking mathematically while having fun and learning new skills. The links for all of these activities are at


Improve Your Times Tables

A particularly worthwhile way to spend some of each day during the holidays is to practise the ability to quickly recall multiplication facts. Here are three suggested Transum activities that can be found at the link above.

Newspaper Type Puzzles

Here are some online interactive puzzles of the type often seen in newspapers.

Exam Preparation

For those who are preparing for forthcoming mathematics examinations.

Mathematical Magic

Children can amaze parents and friends with these magic tricks that are based on mathematical concepts.

Go On A Maths Adventure

Maths adventure games have been around since the first computers appeared in schools.

Online Board Games

Whether you prefer the top hat or racing car you don't need tokens for online board games.

Develop Your Memory

Being able to memorise figures, names or concepts is an important skill which these activities develop.

Searching For A Strategy

Playing maths games against parents and friends is always more satisfying with a winning strategy.

Practical Activities

Get the scissors, glue sticks and rulers for some hands-on mathematical tasks.

Computer Games

If the child has a computer, iPad or similar, these games have a mathematical link.

Mathematical Vocabulary

All about the words used in Maths. Keep a dictionary close at hand.

How About A Quiz?

Enjoying a quiz seems to be a popular activity and there's nothing better than a Maths quiz.

Another Point Of View

A selection of illusions followed by an exercise on matching the view to the direction.

Trains, Cars and Boats

Test your driving skills with these dilemmas and tests of skill.

Programs And Codes

Cracking codes and writing computer programs are skills required for these activities.

Amazing Mazes

You can't get physically lost in these mazes but you may be at a loss mentally.

Steady Hand

If you have a steady hand and nerves of steel you may just be able to do these challenges.

Arty Maths

Exercise both sides of your brain and show your artistic side with these beautiful activities.


Mathematical investigations are open-ended and could take quite a long time.


The final suggestion is for pupils to be quite specific about the work they do so that it closely matches their school curriculum. The Transum website has a Topics page (for teachers) and a Maths Map (for pupils) to help find online exercises on all the different concepts in the school maths curriculum. The one link for all of the activities mentioned above is in a compact form, perfect for sending out to pupils and parents by email or having on your school website or learning management system.

School Holiday Maths Activities

Finally the answer to this month’s puzzle. The incorrect answer is arrived at by thinking that there are two possibilities, the numbers could be both even or the numbers could be different. Two possibilities so the answer is a half. The correct answer can be found by considering equally likely possibilities. There are in fact three:

Only one of these three possibilities is the one being asked about so the answer is one third.

Enjoy August


P.S. An opinion without 3.14159265359 is just an onion

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