# Secret Codes, Multiplication, and Making Memories: Deciphering Clues on the Mountain.

It is time to have the kids explore the mountain.  One likes to decode, the other one needs help in multiplication, and the younger one needs to remember a clue from the book I read to her. What better way to get them moving out and about than a scavenger hunt!

The idea was to write four different clues. The first clue, both boys could figure it out.  This idea came from a childhood of mine, “The Secret Three”.  The boys had to place the secret note in front of a mirror to read it.  The second clue gave one a chance to decipher a simple code as he really enjoys doing them. Clue #2 had to do with assigning numbers to each letter of the alphabet.  It eventually led them to their favorite place to go sledding.

The next clue needed to help my other son with his multiplication. In order to do this, Clue #3 had to do with numbers assigned to letters, but those numbers were products that needed to be calculated through multiplication.  The answer led them to the next clue, which was where we had our fairy garden outside.

The younger one needed to feel she was able to help out by remembering an important part of a book I read to her. It also helped her with rhyming words. 🙂  The answer to the next clue had to do with finding it in a secret room in the house and eventually being led to the prize.  It was a lot of fun and took about 30 minutes for them to get the prize, cookies and hot chocolate! Yum! Here are pictures of each clue:

There is a new excitement to teach children how to code on the computer. What I feel is a great introduction though, is to go back to old school secret codes and scavenger hunts. The kids really need to get intrigued by wanting to decipher something and it builds on their critical thinking. By getting them started to learn how to decipher different types of codes and clues, it really gets them to understand how symbols and numbers can be associated to different commands when they get to using code on the computer.  This activity also gets my kids to go outside and explore the mountain, so this also ties into the importance of being in Nature. I plan to do more of this with them in the future!

The one thing I would do differently is to give them each a different clue to take them on their own scavenger hunt and to color code them to help them keep track. There was a time when one was working on the code while the others played nearby.  It worked, but I really wanted them to all be engaged at the same time.

The important thing is to get them excited about math and using it outside, especially if it involves cookies and hot chocolate as the end all of prizes! Enjoy!

# Pi Day is Today!!!! Let’s Celebrate Another Year of Pi

Today is Pi Day again!  This post you will see each year because it is just that important 🙂  To learn more for yourself about Pi, or for your older children, try http://www.piday.org

What about for our younger children?  We can:

1. Begin experimenting with measuring different circles with a piece of string and then taking that against a ruler to figure out length, which leads to,

2.  Talking about circumference (which is really finding the perimeter of the circle, or length

3. Looking at diameter (the length or distance across the circle),

4. Looking at Radius, which is half the length of a diameter of a circle, and

5. Compare! Get the circumference of any circle you are measuring and divide that by the measurement of its diameter. What number do you get? Get another circle and take its circumference and diameter and compare. What number do you get? How does that compare with the other circle?

6. This item can be either you number one choice to do before choices 1-5, or you can save this best for last. Read story books about Pi! This one is really fun and doesn’t take a whole lot of planning.

Where is this in the schedule of Activities of 3-5?

1. Monday- Reading a Math Story

2. Tuesday- Math under Numbers

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

For yourself, search through the internet on Pi.  Go to the library and look for books about Pi and read them for yourself and for your children.  For Pi, it is not just about that one day our of the year to learn about it, it is most importantly about seeing how this relates to the world around you and your children.

The more you and your children can see how you interact and deal with mathematics in everyday life and in nature, the more comfortable you will become in learning mathematics.  Learning about math is for everyone.  Mathematics is not just for the ones who go to college, or because they are a certain gender, mathematics is something that is all around us and everyone can study it.

So we can we celebrate Pi Day? Of course! Celebrate math everyday! 🙂

# What Books Does Mom Have About Math? Here are just a few….

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

# Learning About Length of Time Through Planting

Where we live, there is still time to plant in our garden.  This year is our first year of planting in our little garden and I have debated about using seedlings or starting our vegetables from seed.  I have done a little of both, as we have the luxury of being able to do this.  However, may I suggest to work from seed?

Where we live, we have the luxury of being able to go to the grocery store down the street and get our produce, or order it from our local farms.  In our family, we are at the point where our children need to know where food comes from, how to take care of the garden, and how to plant the seeds of the food they will eat.  Before we started the garden, I came upon this book and read it to them.

This book talks about how long it takes for a seed to form into a tree and goes through the seasons and years in such a beautiful way.  There are other books out there that also focus on growing a garden and growing your own food.  Doing this really helped my kids understand that we would not get carrots the next day after planting.  Also talking about how much time is needed for plants to mature in order to harvest really helps.

For my kids, learning about how much time and effort to put into your garden and wait time for growth is something I really wanted my kids to learn right now.  In terms of math, this is a great lesson in the concept of time. When they get a little older, I will ask them to keep a journal or calendar to chart and write their observations.  I could do this now, but I really want them to focus on understanding that growing good food takes time, as it should.  I also want them to learn that things might not grow or come instantly and that is okay.  Why? Because sometimes when we work on math problems or learn a new concept, things take time and that is okay.  Concept of time and learning patience on growing plants and with themselves are keys things for my kids to learn right now so that if they every work on a math problem, science problem, writing, reading, or what ever the lesson, they will learn about giving them self more time to grow and learn.  🙂 I will also say this out loud to them over and over and as much as I need to so that they hear this and learn.

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

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

1. It is not there, but it goes under concept of time.

In learning about mathematics, especially at this young of an age for our children, what is really important is to have a positive and “can do” attitude and patience on how much time it might take to learn something new.  The more we talk to our kids and prepare them this way, the more successful they will become in reaching their goals in math and in other areas of academics and in life.  Do they learn this the first time they plant a garden? No, but they need to start at some point. Nurturing a garden, taking care of pets and other animals, or doing something that takes time to finish, will help them understand how much time it takes to get quality results, not just quantity.  In other words, it is not about who gets their first, it is more important about actually getting there. 🙂

copyright 2015 Learning Math with Mom

# Reading Books That Focus on Time: When is Saturday?

For some of our children, time does not look or feel the same as we see it.  My children are continue to ask me when Monday will come, or Friday, or even Saturday.  It’s wonderful that they are asking those questions because it gives me an idea that they are actually curious about it!

I have this book at home, the picture above it is the book, and read it to my kids, or I have them read it now.  It gives them an opportunity to learn about time when it comes to days.  This offers them one opportunity to learn about time.

In our home, we do not stop in just reading about time, we practice it every moment we get.  Go outside and have them look at the position of the sun in the sky. When it is morning, where is the sun? When it is noon time, where is the sun? When it is evening, where is the sun? What can we see at night, the moon or the sun?

How many days are there in a week? How many hours are in the day? What is a day? What is a night? How many weeks or days are in a month? How many months in a year? What is a year? How many seasons are in a year?

For the moon, when it is this time of the month, how does the moon look? What part of the month is it a new moon? What time of the month is it a full moon? How many days does it take for the moon to go from a new moon to a full moon? How many full moons are there in a year?

Truthfully, if my kids are asked these questions right now, they may not be able to answer all of them, but we continue to talk about these things.  I do not sit down with my kids and ask all of these questions at once, but I ask them when the time is right. 🙂

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities in 18 mos-3 years of age?

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

1. Saturday- Go see it outside and explore it

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities in 3-5 years of age?

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

1. Monday- Sequence (Time)

Talking about time, observing about time, reading about time, and experiencing time are all wonderful opportunities for you and your children.  This is very mathematical and yet another way to have your children feel comfortable and able to learn mathematics!

Remember, this type of lesson is something that can be done when you walk with your kids, drive your kids from place to place, or when it is time to go to sleep.  Even make up a story about the days of the week, or different times of the month and year.  Be creative and also find something that is connected to your culture or family. 🙂 This will help your child understand that time and math are not unreachable ideas, but right there in front of them/around them.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

# Pi Has Passed, but Can We Still Celebrate?

The biggest Pi Day ever has since passed. It was celebrated on 3/14/15 at 9:26 am and 53 seconds, so that we had 3.141592653…! We will not be seeing this for about another hundred years, but we still get to celebrate Pi Day every year on March 14th! To learn more for yourself, or for your older children, try http://www.piday.org

What about for our younger children?  We can:

1. Begin experimenting with measuring different circles with a piece of string and then taking that against a ruler to figure out length, which leads to,

2.  Talking about circumference (which is really finding the perimeter of the circle, or length

3. Looking at diameter (the length or distance across the circle),

4. Looking at Radius, which is half the length of a diameter of a circle, and

5. Compare! Get the circumference of any circle you are measuring and divide that by the measurement of its diameter. What number do you get? Get another circle and take its circumference and diameter and compare. What number do you get? How does that compare with the other circle?

6. This item can be either you number one choice to do before choices 1-5, or you can save this best for last. Read story books about Pi! This one is really fun and doesn’t take a whole lot of planning.

Where is this in the schedule of Activities of 3-5?

1. Monday- Reading a Math Story

2. Tuesday- Math under Numbers

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf

For yourself, search through the internet on Pi.  Go to the library and look for books about Pi and read them for yourself and for your children.  For Pi, it is not just about that one day our of the year to learn about it, it is most importantly about seeing how this relates to the world around you and your children.

The more you and your children can see how you interact and deal with mathematics in everyday life and in nature, the more comfortable you will become in learning mathematics.  Learning about math is for everyone.  Mathematics is not just for the ones who go to college, or because they are a certain gender, mathematics is something that is all around us and everyone can study it.

So we can we celebrate Pi Day? Of course! Celebrate math everyday! 🙂

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

# The Power of One, Two, Three…

The power of 1,2,and 3 is quite powerful, especially for a baby or toddler.  When you begin counting one, or two of something, you are giving the child a sense of numbers. It is not the sake of counting, it is the sense of showing quantity.  The ways to offer your child a lesson in quantity is to:

1.  Count the number of pieces of fruit or cereal you are giving them;

2.  Count out loud and with fingers the number of rocks, trees, or plants outside; and

3. Read them books that focus on counting to three, ones that I have are in the picture above.

Counting to one, two, and or three does not seem like a big deal for us, but it is for a baby and toddler. To them, having one nose is a big deal. What do you mean we have two eyes and two ears? But what about one more? What happens in threes? These are all questions to show how to count, point them out, and read about.

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for 0-18 mos?

1. Wednesday -numbers(counting)

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/Schedule%20for%20the%20Week_zerotoeighteenmonths.pdf

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

1. Tuesday-numbers

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

With our babies, there is so much to learn as this is a  great time to get to know the world around them in new ways, especially in number sense.  As a parent, though, 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.  Just start counting in front of the babies and be more transparent in your thinking.  Say the numbers aloud, the colors aloud, and the shapes aloud.  Doing this broadens their bank of vocabulary.  Remember that it is that important to know that you are doing a great job!

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

# Flash Cards to Teach Children Their Letters and Desert Animals: Connecting Numeracy and Literacy

Mathematics and literacy should go hand in hand.  I have used different things to teach my children letters of the alphabet and sounds they make.  In mathematics, we use letters as variables to solve for an unknown value/amount.  We also use our letters to form words and complete thoughts to be able to describe how we solved a problem and what questions or further explorations we still have about that problem.  This is why Learning Math with Mom has a Reading Corner on the website.  Literacy is important. What can you use to help your child begin the learning?  How about flash cards with a bit of meaning to them?

I had the pleasure of meeting a local artist, here in Tucson, AZ, at the 5th Annual UA Presents Children’s Festival.  Her name is Julie Rustad.  Julie owns Julie Originals and created a set of flash cards that related to letters and our local desert animals.  These are beautifully made flash cards and I really appreciate the thought that went into creating these miniature works of art.  Not only are they beautiful alphabet cards, but they also teach the desert child about the animals in our local surroundings.  As promised, here is Julie’s website for more information as to how to order the flash cards, or where to purchase them:  http://julieoriginals.com/.  The name of the flash cards is Desert Dwellers Flash Cards.  As a note, I have not been paid, or anything of sorts, to endorse Julie.  I simply was taken by the beauty and thought of her creation.

If you read any of my other blog entries, you know by now that simply using flash cards does not necessarily build on meaning or understanding.  So here are a few ideas of how to use Julie’s flash cards, or any other alphabet flash cards to make the learning experience for both you and your child(ren) more meaningful!

Ideas:

1)      Go outside and have your child hold, touch, see, hear, and smell things that start with that particular letter.  Practice pointing out what color(s) is on that particular animal.

2)      Practice and over emphasize the sound of the first letter of that object outside, or inside.  Allow the child to repeat the sound or you repeat the sound for him/her.

3)      For Julie’s cards, go out and see how many of the desert animals you can find outside.  Pull out that particular card and show it to your child(ren).  Practice the sounds that each letter in the name of the animals has.

4)      For an art project, work with your child(ren) to see the different shapes that each animal has on the body.  For example, the ears of a certain animal might look like circles or ovals.  The beak of a bird might look like a triangle.  Either precut those shapes out of construction paper or help your child draw the animal using those shapes.  This in particular, has helped my now 4 year old expand on his drawing by understanding what shapes make up a certain animal, car, or person.

5)      For night time reading, use the cards to read stories and facts about each animal.  Either you or your child(ren) can make up a story about that animal or a group of animals.

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

2. Thursday for Shapes
3. Friday for Art
4. Saturday and/or Sunday for Go see it outside and explore

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/Schedule%20for%20the%20Week_zerotoeighteenmonths.pdf

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities 18 months-3 years?

1.  Monday for Shapes
2. Monday-Friday for Letters
3. Friday for Art
4. Monday-Friday for Colors
5. Saturday and/or Sunday for Go outside to see it and explore

http://www.learningmathwithmom.com/sites/default/files/ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf

When it comes to finding that one thing/learning tool you can use for so many learning experiences for your child, it becomes golden because it is only one thing you need to keep track of in your house.  In addition to that, it is also a tool that can develop meaning for your child in so many different areas.  Think about it, these flash cards can fit in your purse, diaper bag, or car.  When the moment presents itself, take them out and do a quick lesson.

Again, 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, literacy, and art 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. 🙂

copyright 2013 learning math with mom

There is a series called Baby Eye Like that are board books focusing on shapes and colors.  This was an opportunity to both teach the reading and color topics on the 0-18 months schedule for Tuesday (see schedule below).

For each Tuesday, I would choose one or two colors to focus on that day.  If we were going to learn about purple and orange, I would get the corresponding books and also any toy or object in the house that was either purple or orange.

Sitting on the rug, holding my little son, I would read the books to him.  After that, both books would be placed on the floor next to the items that were quickly collected.  Grabbing a toy, I would state the color and purposely question myself about what color it is.  Should I place the object next to the book about purple, or should I place the object next to the book about orange?  The thinking out loud went a little like this:

Mom:  (Purple Block)

Where does this block belong? Hmmmmm

This block is purple.

Should I put this next to the purple book or the orange book?

I will put the purple block with the purple book.

Mom:  (Orange Block)

Where does this block belong? Hmmmmm

This block is orange.

Should I put this next to the purple book or the orange book?

I will put the orange block with the orange book.

Realizing my first son was about nine months old at that time, his attention span was not going to be long.  Depending on the day, it might have been a five to 10 minute lesson on colors.  Sometimes the learning with the blocks worked and sometimes it didn’t.  There would also be times when I just read the books with him.  He was about two years old until he was able to identify all the colors correctly.

On the other hand, my youngest son took every opportunity to do something else when it was time to read together.  I waited until he showed interest in reading the books.  Meanwhile, I would point out the colors when we were outside, or even with his fruits and vegetables.   It was not until he was about 1 ½ years old when he was interested in working with the books.  He was able to identify all the colors correctly about 4 to 5 months after that.  These experiences remind me that children learn in stages and sometimes at different moments.  At the end, they will learn.

Where does this fit into the Schedule of Activities for 0-18 months?

Schedule of Activities for the Week

(0-18  months)

 Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday and Sunday Music Reading Numbers (counting) Shapes Art Go and see it outside and explore ABCs Colors Reading Reading Textures

In a nutshell, there are plenty of books you can check out at the library that teach about colors.  Apps on the phone or iPad are also good if you do not have color flashcards handy.  There is not much that you have to buy or make to teach your child about colors.  Just go outside and share with your child about the colors around him or her.  Begin exploring what purple tastes like or smells like.  What does yellow taste like or smell like?  What does green feel like or smell like?  These questions can be answered by looking at grapes, lemons, mustard, or green leafy vegetables.  Keep things simple and then make it a routine.

copyright 2012 learning math with mom

# What was the first activity Mom did with her first born to help him learn math? I read to him!

To better understand me, as Mom, understand that I like to do my homework first before starting a project.  Luckily, I was surrounded by great people who knew a lot about literacy and young children.  I was so concerned about how I was going to help my kids learn to read and what great software or video program was out there to help them get a head start before entering school.  This was all before my first born came into the world.  The advice was this:  read to your children every day and go experience the world with them.

Here is my first born, just seven days old.  I’m overwhelmed with our new addition and the idea that this experience is really real!  My baby and I sat down in a comfy recliner and I started to read “A Giraffe and a Half”, by Shel Silverstein.

Shel Silverstein is one of our most favorite authors that both my husband and I have enjoyed, especially as children.  It was great!  It was a big surprise that this little tiny baby actually listened through the whole book!  At other times he fell asleep, which was another blessing at that time.

The reasoning behind reading with rhyme, in my opinion and from what I have read:

1. It teaches your child to hear the pattern when you read out loud.
2. Finding patterns is one of the many strategies toward understanding mathematics
3. Reading this particular book by Shel Silverstein shows the child about adding more to what you began with. In the middle of the story, things are taken away, or subtracted from the giraffe.  Ultimately, you begin with a giraffe and then ended with just the giraffe.
4. Realistically, for a baby, this is a great start!

copyright 2012 learning math with mom