unschoolers and relaxed ones..list your favorite math games/manipulatives... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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...appropriate for an almost 7 yr old girl who is very visual/hands on. She has an understanding of concepts such as bigger/smaller, can estimate, etc, at times can answer a question like "if you had 10 kitties and 2 ran away how many would you have?" but not consistently, can recognize and write numbers and can get me the appropriate number of objects for that number, etc. I know she learned this through "real life" but I am becoming anxious about "further" math. I know she would be very weak in computational aspects of math with pencil and paper...she simply cannot think in that way.

For gawd's sake, I see "workbooks" in Walmart that are labelled for grade one stating things like adding 45+3 for example...for one thing, she hates any sort of workbook, even just "strewed" around for her to do whenever...my MIL gave her some writing workbooks once the kind with the dotted/solid lines, letters to trace...she was crying that she couldn't make the letters look perfect! I just supplied her with a chalkboard and plenty of paper, she did much better free form and writing on her own terms, like when SHE wanted to make a grocery list or something, or write me a note, adn she still continues to write in this fashion, stress free because there is no pressure.

Is this the kind of "math" grade one'ers are really doing? And do you memorize all those facts...that's what I remember doing at that age with flashcards. I have nothing to compare to as to how kids learn math nowadays...OK I have read stories of how even some Jr high and HS'ers use calculators as they may still not have "memorized" all their facts. True?

I am trying to round up more "resources" to have on hand. We have monopoly Jr (I give her stones to help her make up her dollars if she doesn't have a single bill of that amount), a few card games like War and Go fish, some cooperative strategy type games from Family Pastimes like the Secret Door, etc. We don't play these games consitently though....we are way more into sciency/literature type stuff around here right now.

I am trying to get over my math anxiety and also to try to sit down with her more to play "math type games" with her, but I have to be careful of my motives because this girl can smell coercion and "here let's 'teach' this to you a MILE away . I want to get some things she would find hands on and fun, to help her get a better grasp of what adding/subtracting etc is for when that comes up in a REAL LIFE context, like adding her score in a game, or figuring out money and I show it to her on paper.

Anyone care to share their favorite

-online computer games...she has dabbled in these a bit but probably wouldn't like the "drill and kill" types that are thinly disguised worksheets
-board games, card games, other manipulatives.

Also, math curriculum...any ones that are hands on, use manipulatives, but aren't too workbook-y I would get one of these for her just to "play around with" but of course would not expect her to do "x" amount everyday and then test her. The only one I have seen IRL is Math U see, but it looked intimidating but then again I was looking at a level much higher than the beginning.

One thing I borrowed from the library is Games for Math by Peggy Kaye, just to see it before I would purchase it, and it looks great. I have Family Math for Young Children (Coates/Stenmark) ages 4-8 but it alot about comparisons, estimating, etc and I know she would "know" how to do alot of the stuff in this book....I am more concerned with her starting to develop a better sense of "computing" if that makes sense to anyone.

Any help would be appreciated

Tina, here in Manitoba Canada, trying to swallow my math anxiety

Tina, RN, wife-y to J, mom to dd (10) and ds (7)
"Beware the lollipop of mediocracy...one lick and you suck forever!"
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#2 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 01:57 PM
 
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i've never used it - but i hear "math u see" is a very hands on approach. you can order a dvd for free to learn about it and read LOTS of reviews from other homeschool moms that have purchased & used it here:

http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/rev...ws.aspx?id=158

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#3 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 03:26 PM
 
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My son is 7 and hates workbooks too! We tried a formal curriculum last semester and it didn't work. Slowly I've become more relaxed about math. I think it is the subject that freaks me out the most because it's one of the subjects I liked least in school.

There are lots of math books in story form at the library-some we've read recently are, "If Dogs Were Dinosaurs" (about relative size), "A Million Dots" (about large numbers), "The Coin Counting Book," and "Subtraction Action." Here's a website about doing math in a different way--Living Math

We also play Uno, Monopoly, dice games, and our new favorite is popular with homeschoolers, Sum Swamp. And we recently bought the book "Family Math" to try some of those activities.

We don't have the math thing down yet and I still feel nervous not following a curriculum. I just use a scope and sequence to know what to teach in general and then experiment with ways to teach that work for my son. He's not a visual learner and has some visual processing problems. He's not ready for abstract math (numbers that represent objects.) He still does better with pictures of things to count and then add, or with manipulatives. And that's ok. There's no rush. Lillian (on this board) really helped me to relax about this. Here's an article she wrote.

My son has some math facts memorized-mostly the +1s and +2s and "doubles" ( 4+4 or 2+2.) We've worked on math facts up to 10. Our public school's scope and sequence says kids need to learn math facts through 10 in first grade. We're behind according the them, but right on track for my son!
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#4 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 03:49 PM
 
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Oh, thank you, MomofCutie, for posting a link to that article - it's packed full of some of my favorite resources. And there are more articles on this page: Go Figure! The Fascinating World of Mathematics. Underneath the articles are annotated links to lots of math websites with fun tips and activities. Lillian
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#5 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 04:14 PM
 
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Aren't math "manipulatives" just things like buttons, coins, blocks, barbie doll shoes, etc, that you use in counting, adding/subtracting, etc? Can't you teach multiplication with 3 rows of four grains of rice each, and stuff like that?

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#6 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Aren't math "manipulatives" just things like buttons, coins, blocks, barbie doll shoes, etc, that you use in counting, adding/subtracting, etc? Can't you teach multiplication with 3 rows of four grains of rice each, and stuff like that?
Well, yeah, but she's asking for favorites . I loved the little plastic colored teddy bear counters, for instance - silly, but they just made me smile. And coins are so perfect! But barbie doll shoes??? Is this something you can buy in bulk, or do you just have a bizillion barefoot barbies at your house?

Pattern blocks are popular too. I know one mom who said they were the one thing that really did get a lot of use at her house when she was homeschooling her three. And cuisenaire rods can be useful too...

- Lillian
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#7 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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Aren't math "manipulatives" just things like buttons, coins, blocks, barbie doll shoes, etc, that you use in counting, adding/subtracting, etc? Can't you teach multiplication with 3 rows of four grains of rice each, and stuff like that?
They are also things like pattern blocks, pentominoes, tangrams, fraction circles, geoboards, scales and weights, 3d geometrical shapes, cuisenaire rods, base 10 blocks, play clocks or coins or cash registers, measuring tapes and cups and spoons, 100s charts or boards, DIME blocks. Some of these can be easily substituted or made at home - others not so much. Some are for learning computational skills and others are for more diverse mathmatical concepts.

Tina - there are lots of manipulative and game suggestions in these other threads

For computer games try basics like Reader Rabbit, Jumpstart or Cluefinder, Carmen San Diego math or math blaster. You can often get good deals in the scholastics catalogue on grade level sets. Zoombinis is another great one that develops logic and patterns.

Also if you 'do tv' look into Leapfrog math circus, schoolhouse rock, the reading rainbow math programs, cyberchase or the googol math programs. Look at Livingmath.net for their math reading lists.

As for your question - in Ontario the question 43 +5 for kids in gr 1 is right on target from a curriculum standpoint. It's not that difficult a question if the kids have learned place value which is one of the main things taught in grade 1 here and I'm assuming in most gr 1 classrooms.

It's more important imo that kids get a foundation in understanding how numbers go together and come apart than that they memorize the facts although I think that for many/most people a certain amount of memorization comes just from using and playing with numbers.

Programs like Miquon or Rightstart are manipulative based in the early years and I know Miquon is discovery based. You can do it all without workbooks and drill, as long as you are able to engage and be engaged with your daughter in her discovery.

You might want to look into books for you like Math Power or Math Coach to help you get past your math anxiety and help your daughter experience a rich math environment.
HTH
Karen

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#8 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 04:58 PM
 
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Barbie doll shoes were just an example I could think of- we don't currently have tons of doll shoes but for a while we did (ya know, after receiving new doll outfits that included shoes, and before they all got lost!)

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#9 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 05:03 PM
 
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Barbie doll shoes were just an example I could think of- we don't currently have tons of doll shoes but for a while we did (ya know, after receiving new doll outfits that included shoes, and before they all got lost!)
Oh, okay - darn. I loved the image of little boxes full of barbie shoes being sold like teddy bear counters.
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#10 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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Maybe I should have used Barbie doll heads as an example instead.

BTW Karen- thanks for the explanation. I had no idea manipulatives were that complex. My kids pretty much used everything as a math manipulative- toys, pieces of broken cookies on their plates, etc. I never saw a reason to purchase something special for that purpose- but then I haven't yet HSed a little one, and my 10yo doesn't need much help in math (we spent a total of about 2 hours going over the entire 5th grade curriculum after I pulled her out of school in January.)

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#11 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Maybe I should have used Barbie doll heads as an example instead.

BTW Karen- thanks for the explanation. I had no idea manipulatives were that complex. My kids pretty much used everything as a math manipulative- toys, pieces of broken cookies on their plates, etc. I never saw a reason to purchase something special for that purpose- but then I haven't yet HSed a little one, and my 10yo doesn't need much help in math (we spent a total of about 2 hours going over the entire 5th grade curriculum after I pulled her out of school in January.)
Some of these manipulatives have a long shelf life - or are meant for older kids. DIME blocks for example at quite complex spatial tools and my husband and I love to play with them and are still challenged by them as adults. Same with pattern blocks and pentominoes which are often played with by all the members of our family.
There's an algebra program which is manipulative based aimed at kids ages 9+ and a series of algebra manipulatives which you can get at most teacher stores which allows you to solve equations with 2 unknowns. Here's a supplier of math manipulatives for older kids. For hands on learners, and reluctant writers, manipulatives like this can be a godsend.

Karen

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#12 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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Ooh, those look like fun Karen!

Now, if only I had enough money to buy them...if only I had enough money to pay my bills. sigh.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#13 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 07:26 PM
 
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I can't recomend muggins math enough! We have Knockout/Muggins right now and I am going to get Pirates and Plunder/Sink the Ship ASAP. Knockout would be good for your DD I would think.
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#14 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 07:56 PM
 
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Peggy Kaye's Games for Math is fantastic. Easy games, not a lot of prep or fancy materials and she explains them very clearly. http://www.amazon.com/Games-Math-Peg.../dp/0394755103
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#15 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 08:21 PM
 
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I can't recomend muggins math enough! We have Knockout/Muggins right now and I am going to get Pirates and Plunder/Sink the Ship ASAP. Knockout would be good for your DD I would think.
I'd heard of the name "Muggins," but never any details before. Your post got me to go and look at their website - looks like fun! - Lillian

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#16 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 09:35 PM
 
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We've been having fun with Number's Up! Volcanic Panic. It's spendy, but I think it's worth it. It fills dh's perceived need for "drill" in a way that dd enjoys, so she chooses to do it. I'm cool with that...

We have cuisinaire rods and miquon math stuff, dd doesn't want anything to do with paper right now, though sometimes she likes to do puzzle books with the rods. We have bear counters, but they just seem to get dumped on the floor around here.

Maya Madness is a pretty fun game. I think the box says 10 and up, but I'm not sure why, it's just up and down on a number line.
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#17 of 38 Old 03-09-2007, 09:35 PM
 
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My favorite "learning to add" game for wee ones is Wake Up Giants. Its a beautifully crafted wooden game that I think I got off the Chinaberry website.

Cuisinier rods, well they are just a fun way to learn fractions. So is cooking.

Chocolate works well for teaching multiplication. Have fun learning them in the car and when you get home you fill up a times chart with mini choco chips and if you get the answer right, you get to enjoy!

Blox is a fantastic online game that deals with spacial elements. Warning, it's addictive. http://www.arcadetown.com/blox/index.asp

I just ordered Blockus board game because I heard from a few friends that it is wonderful http://www.blokus.com/index.htm

Poker Chips are fun to play with and so is real money. Or one of those fake money kits.
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#18 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 11:14 AM
 
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My pals are here is great for text work. Games such as Monopoly and Monopoly JR as well as the cd roms mentioned earlier are fab. We alos like using Duplo blocks (diff colours are diff units.for ex. blue is ones, red is tens, yellow is 100's and green 1000). Cheap to get at yeard sales too

For simple addition and subtraction we like using dried beans, buttons and for my son, his Hot Wheels cars.
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#19 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 11:48 AM
 
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wow- I've been bookmarking sites like crazy- you guys are full of ideas!
I also wanted to say to OP- we use Miquon workbooks for ds,who's 7(he likes them...) we're at the end of a 1st grade book,and they're well into mulitplication,and learning about fractions. I say 'learning' b/c of course he learns these things through normal life too, but he is learning to compute the answers on paper,with the use of Cuisinare rods.... Which we love the rods on any old day anyway, b/c they're endless fun all the time -\
I consider Monopoly one of the best tools for letting kids learn about calculating,countig,adding and subtracting...by the time the kids were 6 or 7,they liked to be the banker,which of course meant they had to figure out(with my help) how to count,etc.
Whatever we use, it tends to be sporadic, based on interests first, so sometimes the kids have a burning need to learn some concept,or play some cool games(in which they learn copious amounts of math info )
and then there are times when they don't...which take more patience on my part.
I do like my kids to have at least a basic understanding of the "language of mathematics" so that when they're older, and they need to learn more, it will come more easily to them. I equate it with saying a few words in another language, maybe not comprehensive now, but a passing touch in how it works will greatly simplify any future efforts to learn the more complex language in the future.....like once I knew how vowels were pronounced by learning a bit of spanish,I could then at least sound out every other word i came across, and even understand it, though I hadn't formally learned every nuance of pronunciation...
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#20 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 11:53 AM
 
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I just wanted to put a plug in for my kids' favorite manipulables-- their fingers! I think sometimes people are reluctant to suggest them because counting on your fingers as an adult is considered a sign of stupidity, but my kids have naturally grown out of using their fingers as they became more comfortable with arithmetic, and in the meantime they were very helpful, and always available (except when they're wearing mittens ).

A great motivator to learn some basic math has been shopping. My kids recently found a toy they HAD to have. I offered them some extra chores around the house as a way to earn money to buy it, and they had a great time counting their accumulated earnings and figuring out how much more they needed.

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#21 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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I just ordered Blockus board game
We LOVE this game!! My 6 y/o got it as a gift and the whole family is addicted--we've been playing it almost daily for months now. There's also a version with triangles, equally as good.

We like the games in Math for Smarty Pants and The Book of Think

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#22 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 02:26 PM
 
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Is this the kind of "math" grade one'ers are really doing? And do you memorize all those facts...that's what I remember doing at that age with flashcards. I have nothing to compare to as to how kids learn math nowadays...OK I have read stories of how even some Jr high and HS'ers use calculators as they may still not have "memorized" all their facts. True?
I don't doubt that this is the sort of math some first graders are doing; however, I do doubt a lot of them have a real understanding of what "43+5" really means. They can add "3+5," and they know to bring down the 4. They know how to do a math problem on paper.

Unschoolers often have strange and mysterious ways of understanding math. Last night, for example, Kenzie (9) and I were playing Zeus on the Loose, a game in which you have to keep adding numbers (one through ten) to each other in your head. Sometimes, it would take him a few moments to figure out the answer. At one point, he had to add 8 to 73, and he said something about having to make it 79 and then he could get to 81. : But, it makes sense to HIM. He consistently got the right answers. If it came up, I'm sure I could sit him down and show him in a few seconds how to do the same problem on paper (carry the one and all that), but his understanding it well enough to do it in his head is much more useful to him right now.

If you're okay with giving dd an allowance, make sure you hand her the money and let her pay. (Some parents keep the money and deduct purchases from it - sort of like a bank.) Counting dollars and change and then figuring out how much more she'll need to buy this or that involves a lot of computation.

The article Just Do the Math by David Albert may calm your fears a bit, and Luz Shosie's classic A Few Words about Math is great fun.

Also, the Living Math website and Yahoo group is a good place to find inspiration, as is the MathingOff Yahoo group for unschoolers.

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I am trying to get over my math anxiety and also to try to sit down with her more to play "math type games" with her, but I have to be careful of my motives because this girl can smell coercion and "here let's 'teach' this to you a MILE away . I want to get some things she would find hands on and fun, to help her get a better grasp of what adding/subtracting etc is for when that comes up in a REAL LIFE context, like adding her score in a game, or figuring out money and I show it to her on paper.
Yahtzee! This has always been one of my favorite games, even when I was just a little thing. Maybe it was the sound all the dice made when you shook them up together.

Scrabble includes adding up the word scores, doubling, tripling, and then adding it to your total. Playing cooperatively makes it fun for advanced and beginning readers, alike.

Kenzie loves CountDown, but if your dd is sensitive to "educational games," she may not be too interested. It involves rolling two dice, adding, subtracting, multiplying and/or dividing (you choose) the dice rolls to turn over number tiles.

Zeus on the Loose that I mentioned earlier. It's cute, especially if you have a kiddo interested in Greek mythology. It involves trying to get the discard pile (called Mt. Olympus) to equal 100 at the same time you possess the Zeus figure. In addition to the number cards, there are God cards, which allow you to do things like switch the number total of the pile around (28 becomes 82, for example) or round up or down - that sort of thing.

Role Playing Dice - These are fun to make up games with. They come in all sorts: regular six-sided, four-sided, ten-sided, twelve-sided, twenty-sided, etc. You can replace normal dice in games with rpg dice!

Really, anything where there's a score to add up or a couple of dice to add together will help quite a bit. Oh, and here's an interesting take on changing up the games.

As for online games, You might see if there's anything she'd be interested in on these sites:

Count On - dozens of online number games, math-oriented online greeting cards, math projects and crafts, an online math museum, cool facts about the numbers 1-100, math links, a math newspaper, online resources, etc.

Math Cats - play tons of games, make math crafts, and find out the answers to dozens of questions (how many cells in the human body, how many species of edible plants on earth, where Arabic numerals were invented, etc.)

Math Jokes - Not exactly computation, but who doesn't love a good math joke? "A cat has nine tails. Proof: No cat has eight tails. A cat has one tail more than no cat. Therefore, a cat has nine tails."

Moneyopolis - "Visit each building of Moneyopolis and show off your math and money skills. Every section you complete will earn Xerbie another part to fix his spaceship and help him get home." A little advanced, so we play this one together. Kenzie thinks it's "cool."

Oh, and Kenzie LOVES the Murderous Maths series of books. It's like Horrible History and Horrible Science, but with a focus on mathematics. Very cool. He reads his over and over.

After all that, there's something to be said for sitting back and enjoying the beauty of math - rather than focusing on computations. A Travel Excursion of the Mind (yes, another David Albert article) is a nice read.
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#23 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 02:56 PM
 
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What a great thread! I just had to go and post a link to it in the Let's Talk Math sticky - didn't want it to fade away. Lillian
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#24 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 06:30 PM
 
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My mom is a fifth-grade math teacher and used to bring her manipulatives home for us to play with in the summer. I loved, loved, LOVED the pattern blocks and cuisinaire rods. I didn't even use them for math so much as for making pretty patterns, but they taught me a lot about fractions and geometry regardless. And they're brightly colored and (usually) wooden, so I bet most people around here would like them.

IMHO, they're a worthwhile investment even if you don't think your kids really NEEDS fancy manipulatives to learn math.
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#25 of 38 Old 03-10-2007, 08:29 PM
 
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Yeah, Im really loving this link too.

http://www.hearthsong.com/hearthsong...c=1005&pgc=350

Here is the link (and a picture) to the Wake up Giants game and it wasn't from Chinaberry, like I originally thought, but from HearthSong.

Basically you roll the dice, add them and flip up the number on the game board. You go again. If you get 9 twice, you then have to flip up the "5" and "4" since they equal nine and again flip a "7 and 2" if you happen to roll yet another nine.

You go till you can't go anymore and that's your score. A high score, in this game, is unwanted. You play how many rounds you want to and at the end, the winner is the person with the lowest score.

Even though they say it's for eight and up, I feel is much better served for four year olds and up. Just don't use the last to pegs if it's too dificult for them.
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#26 of 38 Old 03-12-2007, 03:09 PM
 
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Worth a bump
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#27 of 38 Old 03-12-2007, 03:47 PM
 
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We love Right Start Math. It's not cheap (I think I paid $160 for it) but it has loads of manipulatives and games. My five year old loves the abacus and the clock. My four year old loves the tally sticks.

Namaste!
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#28 of 38 Old 03-12-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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One of our favorite math games is "10,000". Instructions here: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/dice-pl...enThousand.htm

There are a lot of great suggestions on here, but I want to also encourage you to relax and not worry about whether she's working to grade level. Think about what sorts of things she'll be able to know how to do just in everyday life, and whether she's on her way to doing that, in other words, basic arithmetic. It sounds like she is. If she doesn't have an aptitude for a certain kind or level of math work, so what? She'll simply veer toward a profession or lifestyle that she does have an aptitude for.

With my own kids, although they do have an aptitude for math, I've been happy for them to work mainly in their heads anyway because I feel it's important to cultivate an organic and sensing approach to math before beginning work with paper and pencil. I figure that if and when they have a need for using symbols and equations, it'll come easy to them because they'll already have a solid base in what the symbols represent, rather than just learning to manipulate markings on a page (and in fact I've begun to see this borne out.) For your daughter it may never come naturally, and that's okay. Or, she may just not be developmentally ready for it yet!
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#29 of 38 Old 03-15-2007, 07:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan View Post
We LOVE this game!! My 6 y/o got it as a gift and the whole family is addicted--we've been playing it almost daily for months now. There's also a version with triangles, equally as good.

We like the games in Math for Smarty Pants and The Book of Think

Blokus finally arrived at we've been playing it daily. I can't wait to introduce it to the kids at my work.
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#30 of 38 Old 12-06-2007, 02:25 AM
 
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Dino Math Tracks is good for learning place value as well as working with addition and subtraction.
Yahtzee is great for multiplication
Battleship for finding gridpoints/graphing skills
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