At our home, we have a lot of books about math. I have been asked what books I have read or the kids used since they were little ones and even to this present day. The best way I can do this is through photos and there will be repeats as I have taken these photos at different times.

As a note, none of the publishers, nor the authors have paid me or asked me to post these books on this blog. These are books that we actually own, or have owned. You do not need to get all of these books, just choose a one or a few and go from there. Remember, checking them out in the library, borrowing them from a friend, or buying them are options. The important thing to remember is to begin reading to your child, especially in mathematics. 🙂

copyright 2015 Learning Math with Mom All Rights Reserved

When it is time for a snack or dessert, a banana is so nice and sweet for the little ones. At first, when I have asked each of my kids whether they want a half of a banana, or a whole banana, they look at me like I am crazy. So I take out a banana and show them a whole banana, then I take that banana and show them half. Usually, they will say that they want a whole banana and then go eat because of course they want a whole banana. It was not to test them on the idea of whole, or half. It was giving them the vocabulary to use to describe how much of something they wanted.

Why would anyone want half a banana?

With my two boys being so little and close in age, sometimes there would be only one banana left. If both were to get a banana, we would need to cut this in half. This is the moment to now see half as equal parts because for kids, each person should get the same as the other, right?

Taking the knife to cut the banana, I placed the knife at different parts of the banana, asking them each time if this was cutting the banana in half. “Would the both of you get the same amount if I cut it here?” “Would he get more or less of the banana, if I cut it here?” “Where would I cut the banana so that both of you get the same amount?”

After cutting the banana in half, I put the two pieces, one over the other, to have the boys see if both pieces were equal.

So, there it is. It took me longer to type this out, than it did to show my kids in real time about half and whole.

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

Answer:

1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less

Something to Think About:

Start asking your little one about whole and half. This does not need to happen each and every time someone asks for a banana because then it starts to sound scripted. Once in a while, bring it up as this lesson should only take no more than five minutes.

Teaching math to the little ones should be a part of life so that they can see early on how math relates to their world. The more we do this, the less foreign it will be when they begin school. Math is a part of life, just as it is with sharing a banana.

For this learning activity, the kids and I have been working on creating and modifying our own chore charts for three summers now. The first summer, I needed the boys to work on certain skills around the house. So the first set of skills I focused on were:

1. Eating all their food for each meal

2. Water plants

3. Pick up their toys and games when done playing

4. Lessons at home

5. Mommy’s helper

At the same time, I wanted my sons to become more comfortable in counting higher than 20 and 30. At the beginning of this project, boys are about 4 and 3 years old, just about.

To create this, I went to the local dollar store, purchased some poster board and stickers, and it grew from there. The idea behind it was for them to work in increments of 40 stickers. I wanted them to understand how to count to 40. For every 40 stickers, they were able to have the buying power of a certain dollar amount to use when we went out to the store. However, there was no purchasing power until they earned an increment of 40 stickers. This was to prevent them from spending a dollar here, or five dollars there, and just focusing on buying stuff.

Every time they finished their food, or at least ate until they were really full, they would get a sticker. Each time they watered plants, they earned a sticker. Every time they picked up after themselves, they earned a sticker. The lessons were things like playing dominoes to learn adding, doing an art project, learning our shapes outside, and so on. For “mommy’s helper”, I might need help with doing something that is not on the chart. This gave me the flexibility to change that chore a bit now and then. It could be helping me put their dirty dishes in the sink, or to help me put the laundry into the dryer.

The reason behind the “mommy’s helper” was so that the chore list was not 20 items or more long. For small kids, that is intimidating. So there were about five to start with from the very beginning. The kids were also encouraged to decorate their charts. After another summer, they wanted to choose their own stickers to use. At our house, we do not use those stickers for anything else because they are considered money for our kids.

For the second summer, the 40 stickers are now worth 25 cents a piece. This helped them now with understanding money. We talked about how 4 stickers are worth $1, just like you need four quarters (25 cents) to make a dollar. We played with real money, as now it was not a choking hazard for their ages anymore. We talked about dimes and pennies and half dollars too. We still continue talking and learning about this as it comes up in our day. Then we figured out that 40 stickers are worth $10 now.

As they get closer and closer to the full amount of 40 stickers, they need to find out how many stickers they need to earn the full forty. At that time, they thought of different things they could do around the house to earn it.

Chore List for Second Summer

1. Clean up toys and games after playing

2. Mommy’s helper

3. Help with sorting laundry (math lesson)

4. Put away your dishes (plasticware)

5. Water plants 6. Lessons at home

Chore List for Third Summer: (used this during the school year too)

1. Clean up toys and games after playing

2. Laundry (folding and sorting)

3. Getting yourself dressed and brushing teeth (morning and night)

4. Lessons

5 Mommy’s helper

6. Daddy’s helper

Since this was the third new list for chores, they boys and I discussed what was placed on there. It was not just me telling them on things to work on. They had a say and I knew that would work better, now that they wanted to become more independent.

Logistics:

1. We started with both boys on one poster board, now they each have their own.

2. Explain to the grandparents what stickers are worth and such, so that you do not come home with kids saying that they were promised 200 stickers for cleaning up. 🙂 (This actually happened)

3. I grouped the 40 stickers in increments of 4 stickers each by circling them. The boys were there to learn that 4 stickers/quarters equal $1 and 40 stickers/ 40 quarters equal $10. Then, the stickers were crossed out with marker.

4. I tried looking for actual stickers of quarters and thought about using a stamp that was a quarter, but that will be after the school year starts.

5. Be patient. This is a work in progress for us, still to this day. It takes a lot of communication as well.

6. Use the chart as a way to show your child the areas they might need to work on more based on showing them how many stickers they have in that area. (compare and contrast)

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?

Answer:

1. Tuesday-Numbers, Quantity

2. Monday-Patterns (showing them areas they do more often and less often, what pattern do they see?)

3. Not posted -Money

Something to Think About:

In looking back at all of this, one child is now making better choices in spending money. The lesson learn is not to spend for the sake of spending, but use your money wisely, especially on something that will not break after one day of use. The other son has really learned about saving money and choosing not to spend the $10 dollars just yet. He waits until he earns another increment of 40 for something that costs more and can be used for a longer period of time.

No, we are not crazy for setting up the bar for $10. It is still a work in progress for the kids, so they do not earn $10 each week or month. They also understand how much work it takes to earn their money too. There is also no exchanges after purchasing something either because we need to make things count.

You do not need to set the amount to 25 cents a sticker, nor set it to $10. You make the decision based on what works. We have also chosen projects to work for donations and such. They are reminded of how we need to share and give to others.

Their purchasing choices were more toys at the beginning. Now, the purchases go toward kits of building robots, learning games, and books. This was my goal because the main point was teaching them mathematics and also to invest in their learning. This post was a long one. If you have any questions, comment, or email me at mom at learningmathwithmom dot com.

Copyright 2015 LearningMathWithMom All Rights Reserved

Why not learn fractions with watermelon as well! Watermelon is a great snack for kids and an opportunity for learning about fractions. With the last fraction activity using oranges, the whole was the whole orange. In this case, I use a circular slice of the watermelon as a whole. Why? All of us need to see the whole in different ways and its parts.

At this time, my oldest was 5, second oldest was about to turn 4, and my youngest was too young to notice what we were doing, nor could eat watermelon. Taking a slice of watermelon, I told them that this slice is the whole. Cutting in half, I then said that this is now cut in half. “What do you notice about the two pieces that came from the whole slice of watermelon?” “Are they the same, or different?” If cut this slice of watermelon into two pieces and give it to the both of you, would you want them to be the same or different?” “Why?”

Those are the questions, I asked and still ask when the moment presents itself. When asking the kids questions, ask both questions that will result in a yes or no, and ask them questions that they need to explain more. The most important thing to remember is just to ask your child questions to find out what they are thinking.

Now cut the two equal parts in half again. How many slices of watermelon was the whole cut into? What are they called now? Are they called halves, or something else? Answer: they are called fourths. Cut each of those fourths in half and what do you get? Answer: they are called eighths. Why are they called eighths? Are each of these eighths the same/equal to the other eighths? If we put all of these eight eighths together, what do they make? These are just a sample of questions to ask your kids. Just be mindful of how many questions you ask before the kids’ attention span is gone. 🙂

Now eat and enjoy so they can taste the delicious mathematics they just learned! 🙂

Here are more pictures for you to use. Print them out and use them for later to help your kids learn their fractions again. The kids can also use the pictures to help them cut the fruit in equal pieces.

Whole- One Whole

Half- Two Halves

Fourths- Four Fourths

Eighths- Eight Eighths

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

It is also good to remember that the whole does not always need to be a circle either. Try a piece of bread and cut that into half. Talk about that and ask the kids questions about whether they think it is important for the two pieces to be the same or not. Then cut that into fourths and eighths. What about bananas? Talk about the whole fruit of the banana as the whole and how would they cut the whole in half? How about fourths? How about thirds? How about fifths? What would that look like? Fractions are our friends. Fruity fractions are even better!

Remember, learning is not a race. If you think it is a race, it is better to think of different ways to finish and that it is more important to get there than who gets there first. With mathematics, it was always meant to be learned and by all. So think of other ways you can be in the house or outside and teach your kids about fractions and the vocabulary. You are, in fact, your child’s first teacher.

As a first time mom, there isn’t much sleep taking place and coffee is my new best friend. Of course, there are days that I don’t feel up to thinking about how to explore the world of math, but still want to give it a try. The simplest thing is that since my baby has to eat, this would be a way to start introducing how to count. At this point of doing this, my son is at the age to start baby food and I can count up to twenty with even this much lack of sleep. Even still, waiting for the coffee to kick in is still a good idea.

So how many spoonfuls of baby food are in a jar? It depends on the size of jar and what the child is eating out of the jar. It also depends on what kind of spoon you are using. In other words, it is okay to have different answers. It is also okay to estimate later on. For survival’s sake, let’s keep counting because counting will keep mom awake 🙂

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities 0-18 months?

Answer: Wednesdays for learning about numbers, specifically on counting.

When your baby is older and can eat some cereal, like cheerios, use this to help your child learn how to count and learn about quantity. Depending on how old your child is, if you have a crawler or young toddler, start counting out cheerios one by one. Show what one piece of cereal looks like. What does two pieces of cereal look like? What does three, four, or five pieces look like? Use fruit pieces, or vegetable pieces to count, depending on the meal of the day.

For our kids who are ready and have more patience sitting a little longer, use cereal to compare quantities. Count three cheerios, then count ten cheerios and place the two quantities side by side to compare which is more, or which is less. Ask your child to count out five cheerios and put it aside or a plate. Then ask your child to count out then cheerios and put them side by side with the other group. Which has more? How many more?

For my three year old, to get him to finish his oatmeal sometimes, I ask him to tell me how many spoonfuls or bites it took to finish the bowl of oatmeal. At this age, it works from time to time. 🙂

If anything, you can also take this time to ask a simple question of what shape are the cereal pieces. What I am trying to help you see is that you do not necessarily need to build a “formal” lesson to teach about counting, quantity, or shapes. Math is all around us, even during breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 🙂

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities 0-18 months?

Answer: Wednesdays for learning about numbers, specifically on counting.

This activity is something that can be done for any age of child, depending on where the child is at. For much older children, they can keep a tally of how many spoonfuls of apple sauce is in a jar. If you have multiple children of different ages, count the spoonfuls of baby food in a jar and have the older ones keep track over time and graph it. Find out how many cheerios it takes to fill up a two ounce jar and compare it with using other types of cereals. There are ways to use this idea to make it fit for all your kids so that you do not have to find a completely different activity for each child. We as parents multitask very well, let us do the same for teaching about math.

Most importantly, as a parent, we might think we need to hurry up on teaching certain things to our children so that they won’t fall behind. This allows us to become more stressed or pressured if our children are not learning at the rate we think they should. No worries….just breathe. Because even reading this blog and finding out how to help your child become more successful in math should tell you that you are a wonderful and caring parent. If your child takes more time to learn concepts, it is okay. We all learn at different times. Don’t worry too much. 🙂