March had National Pi Day, but April is Mathematics Education Month. I’ve done several write-ups about math including this post on math manipulatives and a Pi Day post for Dandelion Moms.
Around here, we try to do math every day, although we do mix it up a bit. For example, last week we did one or two worksheets out of our Saxon Math 1st grade workbooks, he finished the last few problems in his 2nd grade Lakeshore Common Core Workbooks, he started his 3rd grade Common Core workbook, and we spent a day practicing counting money (I’d give him different denominations and he had to see how much it all added up to.) We got the common core workbooks because we wanted to see how it was different from what we were already doing, and I chose different grades because I wanted to see what he already knows and what we need to start working on. He actually really enjoys doing these workbooks, minus the in-depth explanation of how he found his answer.
Since we started adding Usborne books to our collection, we have found several new books and tools that make math fun to learn and practice. We love the First Illustrated Math Dictionary. The illustrations are so playful that my 3-year old loves to sit down and read it. She practices counting and names all the shapes she finds. The book covers everything in a fun and kid-friendly way from counting from 1-100, how to use a calculator, lines of symmetry, number lines, counting in groups and so much more. We love it. It’s perfect for pre-k and up.
The next step up is the Illustrated Elementary Math Dictionary. This book has the same fun illustrations but adds more difficult mathematics to the mix. This is a great resource for students, but is also super-helpful for parents! This one gives you the tools you need to understand the math your kids are bringing home, and how to help them work through the problems.
We also love the Wipe-Clean activity books. The repetition is great for practice and the kids use their books over and over again. Two of our wipe-clean books are two years old and we still use them on a regular basis.
Here are some other great books and tools that will help you learn and love math! Click on the images for more information about each item.
Math Center Kits are available for grades K-2 and the Mastery Box sets are available for addition, subtraction, and multiplication. Looking for something specific? Please feel free to message me at email@example.com and I’ll help you find what you’re looking for!
How do you make math fun? What out-of-the-box activities do you like to do with your kids?
I purchased the Saxon Home Study Math Kit that is full of manipulatives to accompany our first grade math program. My kids are hands-on so I knew this would be a necessary addition to our studies. I didn’t know however, that I would use it as much as I do. The Saxon math program I purchased through Houghton Mifflin recommends this kit, and many of the lessons include activities that use the contents. And once you purchase the kit, you’re set for the next 3 years. Or four, if you purchase it for kindergarten, as K-3 math programs incorporate products from this kit into the curriculum.
Inside the kit you’ll find two rulers, a balance, linking cubes, a number chart, 2 pegboards with rubber bands, bear counters, pattern blocks, 4 sets of tangrams, two clocks, dominoes, color tiles, and more. You’re pretty much set if you’ve got this guy in your math ensemble – Oh! and it comes in a plastic storage box so you don’t have to figure out where you’re going to put everything. Even if you’re not using the Saxon math program, this kit is awesome and I highly recommend it.
Yes, we use it for our math assignments. And yes, I keep it up high on a shelf where tiny hands can’t reach it without permission. But it’s so much more than that. My son loves tangrams. Let me rephrase that. My son LOVES tangrams. He did them in kinder and it became a thing for him, so I was happy that they came with this kit. The other day I offered him 15 minutes of TV time if he finished his assignment in a timely manner and he asked if he could trade it for tangrams. What the heck? Sure! I searched for tangram puzzles online. There are lots of sites that have tangram puzzles but I wanted the kind that you can fit the pieces into rather than the kind you have to look at and recreate on the table. Education.com has a small but good selection of tangram puzzles so I printed some from them. Pattern blocks get a similar response in my house. They love the puzzle effect. So I printed pattern block puzzles, too.
My kids love Lego’s, but linking cubes serve a similar purpose and they will sit and create with linking cubes any chance they get. They also build domino creations on the floor. Sometimes pictures, sometimes domino towers, but they still have a hard time keeping them all standing. We use the balance for some of our science activities, and the bear counters are one of my preschoolers’ favorites. We’ve used everything in the kit at least once. In fact, the other day I needed a distraction for my little one so I could finish a lesson with my first grader and I gave her the whole box. I could have used a clean up crew at the end, but she had a great time balancing her bears and trying out all the fun colorful pieces in the math kit.
Do you use manipulatives for your math work? What are some of your favorite things to use?