Second Grade Tips for Parents

The early years in elementary school build foundational skills for students. The curriculum is based on the Iowa Core standards and focuses on key concepts in mathematics, literacy, science, social studies, and 21st Century skills. Learn more about the Iowa Core standards for second grade

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to stay engaged in their learning. Each day, take time to ask your child about their school day. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interaction. Then, you can build on their daily learning with some of the activities suggested on this webpage.

You can also view suggested learning resources for students. These learning resources offer both digital activities and printable practice materials.


How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • When saving for a purchase, compare the cost of the item to the amount of money you have; then ask your child to determine how much more money he or she needs to buy the item.
  • When measuring your child’s height, ask how many inches he or she has grown since the very first measurement.
  • Play “draw the shape.” For example, ask your child to draw a square and ask him or her to shade in a quarter of the square.

English Language Arts & Literacy

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read at home every day and assist your child by reading every other paragraph. Encourage your child to read to younger siblings, cousins, or other children you know.
  • Have your child write a thank-you note or letter to family members or friends.
  • Ask your librarian to suggest books about people or places that are important to your child or family that you can read together. Encourage your child to explain what he or she has just read.


How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Encourage your child to use building blocks, construction sets, and other toys to create larger structures from smaller pieces.
  • Do arts and craft projects to create something new from smaller pieces. Talk about why certain materials might be better for specific projects and why.
  • When outdoors, spend time observing the plants and animals in the area. Discuss ways plants and animals interact with their environment to meet their needs (i.e., squirrels dig holes to hide food). Visit zoos, aquariums, nature centers, or botanical centers and spend time observing how the plants and animals interact with their environments.
  • When traveling, look for and discuss various landforms and talk about how they may have formed.

Social Studies

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read with your child every day. Seek out social studies-related books, both fiction and non-fiction. Check your local library or the National Council for the Social Studies Notable Trade Book List at for suggestions of books to read.
  • Visit local museums and cultural institutions to examine how individuals and groups have shaped historical change. Look for statues and monuments in Iowa as a way of understanding who has shaped our state and nation.
  • Point out civic institutions such as a school board or city council and how they must make choices to work together to solve community problems. Form an opinion about a community problem.
  • Talk about making spending choices when financial resources are limited. If students are given an allowance, discuss the opportunity to make spending choices.
  • Identify things people say or write as mostly fact or opinion.
  • Explore a variety of parks. Notice the names of the parks as well as who takes care of the parks.

21st Century Skills

How to Help Your Child at Home:

  • Read with your child from books with 21st Century skills content. Examples: Jobs People Do series by DK publishing; The Marvels of Money for Kids series by Paul Nourigat.
  • Help your child select physical activities to keep moving and have fun.
  • Show your child how to appropriately use technology to find games, activities, and information.

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).
Read the complete standards at