Here is what we have been up to in the Math (liberally defined) realm this week. The Bibliophile is 2 years, 9 months old.
The Formal Stuff --
Our math ("fun with numbers") box this week held a Disney Cars themed workbook from the dollar store. He kept choosing to work on this, which gave us a chance to try handwriting numbers a little, and reinforce counting (which he's fine with already), and introduce subtraction.
Games (a.k.a. Does This Count As Math?) --
We love games around here!
We did some simple sudokus, which he loved (I mentioned them and included a link to the free printables in this post).
We played with our Mancala board and some glass stones (clear, green, and brown), mostly just patterning (I haven't introduced the real mancala rules with him yet).
And we introduced a great (adult) game to him called Zendo. Before becoming parents, we used to host game nights fairly often, and we'd always convert our guests into fans of this game. It is played with Looney Labs Icehouse pieces. Icehouse pieces are little plastic pyramids, in a rainbow of colors (and also white and black). You can buy them by the color or in sets. There are three different sizes of pyramids, and they can nest within each other. There are all sorts of games you can play with them, and if you invest in a set (which I recommend!), then this Playing with Pyramids book is great. I would imagine that there are many creative homeschooling uses for these.
Zendo rules on Wikipedia. The vocab is a little confusing at first, but the basic idea is that one person ("the master") picks a secret rule, and all groupings ("koans") that conform to that rule have what is called "the buddha nature." The master starts by placing two groupings out for demonstration - one with a clear stone (because that grouping conforms to the rule) and one with a brown stone (because that grouping does not conform to the rule). Your job as a player is to guess the secret rule. We forego the Buddhist terminology when playing with the Bibliophile. Instead, we just talk about whether a grouping "fits the rule" or not. So, for example, a rule might be that a grouping fits the rule if it contains a green pyramid, but doesn't fit the rule if it does not contain a green pyramid. Or, the rule might be that a grouping fits the rule if it contains at least one pyramid laying down on its side. It might take 10 or more groupings to figure out the rule. It is harder than it sounds, and really works the brain. A player earns (green) guessing stones (which allow you to take a crack at guessing the rule) by guessing whether a certain grouping deserves a brown (doesn't fit the rule) or clear (fits the rule) stone. The Bibliophile has enjoyed playing with the plastic pyramids for months, but this weekend demanded that Daddy show him how to play "the real way," and we have been pleasantly surprised that he is catching on and can (sometimes)(eventually) guess simple grouping rules.
As I type this up, the two of them are playing Monopoly on a board we scribbled on a doodle pad, with places around town instead of the real properties, and "go to bed" instead of "go to jail," and "collect a sunbutter bar" instead of "collect $200" when you pass Go. Mind you, we have a regular monopoly set and a New Zealand set, but it's apparently hard to beat pretend Doodle Pad monopoly.
We also read four MathStart books this week. I selected Level 1 books to start with, but these were all a bit simple for him in terms of teaching anything (he already knows these concepts). He enjoyed these anyway. Here are the ones we read:
Mighty Maddie refers to a superhero persona that a little girl takes on as she tackles the Herculean task of cleaning up all of her toys before a birthday party. The lesson involves weights (heavy versus light). I do think it would be fun to try a follow-up activity with this -- see if the Bibliophile understands that a brick is heavier than a pillow even though it is smaller, etc.
Just Enough Carrots (MathStart 1)
A bunny goes grocery shopping with his mother and questions her purchases, wanting fewer or more of each item. I think the Bibliophile knows these concepts already, so we haven't done any follow-up.
Circus Shapes (MathStart 1)
I took this one out of the library because I thought it might be fun to introduce some of the more complex shapes, but this actually only covers the basics (square, triangle, rectangle, circle). So, it didn't teach him anything new, but he enjoyed it -- especially because there is a little quiz page at the end asking him to point to all of the shapes.
Every Buddy Counts (MathStart 1)
A little girl counts up all of her "buddies" (animals, neighbors, relatives, etc.), from 1-10. Nothing new here in terms of lessons, because the Bibliophile can already count well. He enjoyed it fine, though, and it's a nice choice for those just starting out on counting.
I am linking this post up with Math Monday.
Comment: What math- or game-related fun have you been up to lately? Do you have any favorite games that aren't necessarily very well known that you enjoy introducing to your friends?
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