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<p>Hi, all.  I haven't ever introduced myself here, though I'm a regular lurker.  I usually find all I need to know without posting, but today I'm on the fence about some Christmas presents.  Dh thinks dd would enjoy an abacus, and I think dd would enjoy some pattern blocks.  Neither are expensive, neither are too large for our tiny house.  But since both are marketed for preschoolers, I really wonder if my 1st grader will honestly get much out of either toy.</p>
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<p>Some background: dd is 6, attends our local PS and loves it, and is doing very well there.  That is, she has a great intuitive teacher who appropriately challenges in the appropriate areas, and dd doing very well academically. </p>
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<p>We thought the abacus would be a good tactile manipulative for addition and subtraction, specifically 2- and 3-digit math problems.  We also thought it may be a more fun way to help her with memorizing the basic single-digit problems (which we're not pushing, but we do recognize the value of being "fast" with math facts).  We thought the pattern blocks would be especially helpful for demonstrating fractions and helping her understand how to break down a music measure.  She also seems to get a lot of time playing with pattern blocks at school, so I wasn't sure if having them at home would be reinforcement or if she'd turn her nose up at them.</p>
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<p>We also thought both toys may be fun for her to use when playing "school" with friends or with her dolls (no sibs here).</p>
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<p>And just to clarify - we <em>are</em> getting other gifts for her too.  I just wasn't sure if these 2 were a good choice at this age, or if there are better choices for school-age kids.  My main concern is that I really want her to have some kind of 3D math enrichment - all we really do right now is homework worksheets (which she likes) and math websites (which she loves).  She pretty much refuses any kind of "math at home" approach, like helping cook dinner. </p>
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<p>What are your thoughts?  Do your kids still enjoy these kinds of toys at this age?  Is there anything you'd recommend? Thanks for your help.</p>
 

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<p>I don't think either sounds too babyish, especially for what you have in mind for how to use them.  You know your daughter best, but if you think that she would enjoy learning those concepts in that hands-on way, then go for it!   Also, my son (6) has had an abacus for a couple of year, until recently he has not done anything with it besides make bead patterns.  It's not really a preschool age toy - it seems more appropriate for school age to me.</p>
 

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<p>Depends on your kid really. My eldest used an abacus regularly until about age 5. My DS never took to the abacus but he loved pattern blocks until about age 6 when he sort of tired of puzzles in general.</p>
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<p>You might consider math wraps too. Both my kids really dug on them and they were a calming way, tactile way to work on math facts. I even found myself doing them because it's got that relaxing knitting like feel lol. They have them for addiition, subtraction, mulitiplication, division and fractions/decimals.</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLearning-Wrap-Ups-K101-Addition-Wrap%2Fdp%2FB0007P95JU%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1290023299%26sr%3D8-2" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Wrap-Ups-K101-Addition-Wrap/dp/B0007P95JU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1290023299&sr=8-2</a><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
 

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<p>funny, i was just reading an article about how to make an oversized abacus, which would look simply amazing in our house!  </p>
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<p>FWIW, i think both would be great for this age.  Abacus is a lost art mostly used in montessori programs only.  the tactile and sensory skills help further mathematical understanding significantly.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #5
<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280046/are-these-gift-ideas-too-baby-for-a-1st-grader#post_16053470"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>You might consider math wraps too. Both my kids really dug on them and they were a calming way, tactile way to work on math facts. I even found myself doing them because it's got that relaxing knitting like feel lol. They have them for addiition, subtraction, mulitiplication, division and fractions/decimals.</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLearning-Wrap-Ups-K101-Addition-Wrap%2Fdp%2FB0007P95JU%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1290023299%26sr%3D8-2" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Wrap-Ups-K101-Addition-Wrap/dp/B0007P95JU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1290023299&sr=8-2</a><span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
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<p>Ooooooh, I think I love these!  DD loves fidget toys too.  I think we may have to get them all...  Thanks whatsnextmom! </p>
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<p>And sorry I used your name - I'm a bit oblivious to others' user names.  It was an honest mistake, I promise.  <span><img alt="duh.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/duh.gif" style="width:21px;height:22px;"></span></p>
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<p>My now 12 year old dd asked for pattern blocks when she was in about 2nd grade.  I spent hours searching for them at the last minute and was so glad I did--she continued to use them for years even last year when she was 11 I would see her using them.  I think they are a great--long lasting--gift at that age.</p>
 

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<p>My second grader still enjoys pattern blocks.  I've never really been clear about how you use an abacus, and we've never had one, so I can' t say anything about that.</p>
 

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<p>How funny - I have this set of pattern blocks <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLearning-Resources-Pattern-Activity-LER0335%2Fdp%2FB000F8VAOM%2Fref%3Dsr_1_7%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1290062980%26sr%3D8-7" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Pattern-Activity-LER0335/dp/B000F8VAOM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1290062980&sr=8-7</a> and on the box it says for 'Grades 2-6', my 5 and 3 year old really like them, and I can remember using them into the 6th grade.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #9
<p> </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Rose-Roget</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280046/are-these-gift-ideas-too-baby-for-a-1st-grader#post_16053243"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Also, my son (6) has had an abacus for a couple of year, until recently he has not done anything with it besides make bead patterns.  It's not really a preschool age toy - it seems more appropriate for school age to me.</p>
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<p>Funny you mention patterns - <em>everything</em> is a pattern to dd.  So I suppose she would like an abacus just for that reason!  And interestingly, when I look at abacuses on Amazon, so many of them are for "18 mos - 3 yrs".  I always thought they were a school-age tool - I was surprised to see that age recommendation. <br><br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nanette0269</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280046/are-these-gift-ideas-too-baby-for-a-1st-grader#post_16054135"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>funny, i was just reading an article about how to make an oversized abacus, which would look simply amazing in our house!  </p>
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<p>FWIW, i think both would be great for this age.  Abacus is a lost art mostly used in montessori programs only.  the tactile and sensory skills help further mathematical understanding significantly.</p>
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I like the oversized abacus idea.  Cool art!  And really -abacus is a lost art??  What a shame.  Dd has SPD, and I'm becoming so aware of all the ways we deny every child's need for tactile learning. </p>
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<p> <span>Quote:</span></p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>joycenjackiesmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280046/are-these-gift-ideas-too-baby-for-a-1st-grader#post_16054595"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>My now 12 year old dd asked for pattern blocks when she was in about 2nd grade.  I spent hours searching for them at the last minute and was so glad I did--she continued to use them for years even last year when she was 11 I would see her using them.  I think they are a great--long lasting--gift at that age.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Daffodil</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280046/are-these-gift-ideas-too-baby-for-a-1st-grader#post_16054895"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>My second grader still enjoys pattern blocks.  I've never really been clear about how you use an abacus, and we've never had one, so I can' t say anything about that.</p>
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<p> <span>Quote:</span></p>
<div class="quote-container">
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>MCsMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1280046/are-these-gift-ideas-too-baby-for-a-1st-grader#post_16055159"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>How funny - I have this set of pattern blocks <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FLearning-Resources-Pattern-Activity-LER0335%2Fdp%2FB000F8VAOM%2Fref%3Dsr_1_7%3Fie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1290062980%26sr%3D8-7" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Resources-Pattern-Activity-LER0335/dp/B000F8VAOM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1290062980&sr=8-7</a> and on the box it says for 'Grades 2-6', my 5 and 3 year old really like them, and I can remember using them into the 6th grade.</p>
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This is really reassuring. It reminded me of another use for pattern blocks - dd and her grandma will probably enjoy making quilt patterns together for years using these.  They already have a few projects under their belts, and more planned.</p>
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<p>And Daffodil - I don't know how to use an abacus either, but I think it'll be fun to brainstorm ways to use it, and then it'll be fun to research its intended use together.  I hope :)<br>
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Thanks so much to all of you for your input.  I'm going to go place an order!<br>
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<p>I vividly remember using an abacus my grandfather kept in the family room well into elementary school for fun. We'd play around with math problems on it, or just make patterns with the beads. I would not consider it too babyish at all!</p>
 

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<p>cool math wraps...just added these to DD's christmas wish list.  thanks!</p>
 

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<p>What a fun thread, I love all these ideas.  My first grader uses pattern blocks at school and she has always talked about getting an abacus.  Perhaps I should get one this year.  </p>
 

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<p>My DD in 3rd grd still uses pattern blocks and used abacus up until this yr. </p>
 

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<p>I think these are great ideas! Also, if you have a math store nearby, you could look for other games/puzzles that are sophisticated enough for this age group & also make learning math fun!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter #15
<p>Thanks to everyone!  I got all of it - the abacus, the pattern blocks, and the wrap-ups too 9 (they ARE really cool!).  Dh and I spent the evening playing with the toys before wrapping them  :)  So much fun!  I appreciate all the support here, and that so many of you shared that your older children were still interested in these types of toys.  I think it will be a fun Christmas!</p>
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