Learning About Red, Green, Black, and Time. What’s in Your Garden?





A garden is just a garden, right?  What is so interesting about a garden?  Well, what you grow in the garden can teach your children many things like the fact that colors can have flavor, texture, and smell.  A garden can teach you about how time can be measured more than with days, weeks, and months.  So what’s in the garden?

For my current little one in the house, we were fortunate to pick some tomatoes and watermelon from a garden that we help at once a week during late summer and fall.  This was a perfect opportunity to teach my daughter about the color red, green, black.

Before giving the fruit, or vegetable to your child, describe the color.  Not all watermelons are red inside.  Not all tomatoes are red either.  Even on the same fruit, or vegetable there can be multiple colors.  Point those out 🙂

Learning about a color of a fruit, or vegetable is very important because they learn when it is ripe to eat, or best to eat it.  Talking about when a tomato gets red and what color is it when it begins to grow is very important to learn and it gives them the opportunity to understand why certain colors of food is so important to know before eating it.  Why do we not eat the tomato when it is green?  We eat celery when it is green, why not tomatoes?

To learn about flavor of a fruit or vegetable, it is easy to just have the child eat it.  For smell, have the child smell it and ask it the smell and taste are the same, or different.  For example, some people can tell if they are smelling cilantro, but the taste to them is like eating grass.

On another thought, what does the rind, which is green, taste like when you take a bite of it?  What anything green taste like and smell like?  How about the color black?  Black berries and black cherries are great examples of black fruit!  What about a banana that goes from green, to yellow, to brown, to black?  What does a banana taste like and smell like when it is those colors and when would we eat them, or use them to cook with?  In other words, give your child the experience to find out these certain characteristics of food that we sometimes take for granted.

For texture, I know people who might describe a tomato has mushy, slimy, or juicy.  It just depends on the person who is tasting that tomato at that moment.  The same can go for a the texture of watermelon.  🙂

So what does color, smell, texture, and taste have to do with learning about math?  When we take the little moments to help our children understand the relevance of color, smell, texture, and taste of what we eat, we are giving our children an opportunity to understand the world they are living in.  By also taking the time to explore the characteristics of fruit and vegetables we prepare the child to use more vocabulary in describing something.  In mathematics, exploration, understanding relevance, finding more ways to describe something, and looking for patterns is very important.

Think about time for a moment, time can be measured by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years.  But when we look at vegetables and fruit, time can also be measured in the color that a vegetable turns.  Time can also be measured in terms of the texture and smell that a certain vegetable and fruit produces.  It is very important to understand time this way because it teaches us to understand when a certain vegetable, or fruit from our garden is ready to eat.

When we can think of different ways to describe what goes on in our world, like produce from the garden, the more interested we might become in exploring other situations around us.  The more different ways we can see a garden, the deeper the understanding we can develop about how a garden works and what goes on in a garden and this can all start with your little one.

Something to Think About:

Mathematics becomes more interesting when we think it is connected to things in our life because it really is.  When we give our children the opportunity to see it in their early years, the less of a struggle it will be when they get older.  We all, at some point, need to know why we need to learn something and that, my friend, is called relevance.

I have come across this need for relevance many times when I taught students in the classroom, also other teachers in mathematics, with my own learning, and with my children. We all want to know why we need to learn something and that is a good thing.   When we see that it is part of our everyday life, then we are more open to learning about it.  All this, from a garden.  So what’s in your garden?

copyright 2016 learning math with mom

copyright 2016 learning math with mom



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 All Rights Reserved

copyright 2015 Learning Math with Mom
All Rights Reserved


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IMG_5699 IMG_5706IMG_5713





Helping Around the House: Teaching About Money, Charts, and More

image   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.


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?

Click to access CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf


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

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?



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

Something To Think About:

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?

imageFor 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?



1. Saturday- Go see it outside and explore it

2. Reading

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



1. Monday- Sequence (Time)

2. Reading

Something to Think About:

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

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

A New Year? What is that?


Children usually think of time as either something that is done in a second, or something that is forever and usually there is nothing in between, at least it is like that with my kids.   So talking about a new year might be a great way to offer them a sense of time in terms of seconds, minutes, days, months, and a year.

Before you recycle last year’s calendar, spread out all the months onto the floor. You might need pieces of paper and something to write with. Decide what calendar year you are going to show them: a solar calendar year; a lunar calendar year; a religious calendar year; or a school year. Name the months of the year together as well. Explain to them what month you are beginning and ending with before you start and why.

Have the kids think about their birthday. What month does is his/her birthday? Write this down and place it on that calendar month, or have them practice their writing or drawing if they are ready. Did your family celebrate any festivals or holidays? Write them down or draw pictures and place those on the calendar month. Anniversaries? First day of school? Last day of school? Vacations? Trips to see family? Did family come over to visit you? Document those by having the child(ren) write down a memory, story, or draw pictures.

What about the seasons?  Together, talk about what months are in Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter.  Were there any significant weather events that happened? A big snow fall? Monsoons? After this, have the kids step back and see what last year looked like.

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities for 3 to 5 years of age?


1. Tuesdays for Measurement (Time)

2. Monday for Sequence (Time)

3. Friday for Reading under “Write or Say Own Story”


Something to Think About:

By placing down the months on the floor, it gives your children a way to visualize time and to think back of all the things that happened that year.  It is also a great way to do something as a family, especially if the weather does not permit us to go outside.

Children at this age are at a wonderful part of life when time seems infinite.  To help them see and feel time, give them a visual that will help them grasp the concept of a year, a month, and a season.  It gives them a sense to see things in sequence in terms of what usually happens first in the calendar year. More importantly, if gives all of you a chance to learn math, draw pictures, write stories and memories, and spend time together, which I really appreciate in our home….with every chance we can get. 🙂


copyright 2015 learning math with mom

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

Helping Your Kids Count Away Cold and Flu Season

With three kids, it is only a matter of time for someone to get sick, especially during cold and flu season. What my kids need to practice is washing their hands for at least twenty seconds each time. What I first started out doing was using a dry erase marker on the mirror and writing down the numbers 1 through 20. They had to look at the numbers on the mirror and starting counting while they were washing hands. At this point, my kids know how to identify their numbers 1 through 20. Now, it is 40 through 60, or 101 through 120. This also will give them a sense of what 20 seconds feels like.  It will give them a sense of time. Here are some examples to give you ideas:

mirrornumbers mirrornumbers2

Where is this on the Schedule of Activities from 18 months to 3 years of age?

1. Tuesday for Numbers


Where is this on the Schedule of Activities from 3 to 5 years of age?


  1. Monday for Sequence
  2. Tuesday for Numbers



Something to Think About:

We can always say that we are too busy to teach our children at home, but we really are our children’s first teachers regardless of what we are directly or indirectly teaching them. What I am offering to you is showing you a simple way to help your children use mathematics as if it was not a big deal. The more we are using the mathematics in a more comfortable and useable manner, kids will be more open to working with the math when there is a bit of a challenge because it will be no big deal.

Remember to have patience when your child skips 48 from 47 to 49. The main point is to teach them to keep track of how long they are washing their hands to wash away those germs as much as they can. You will need to be with them to model and practice what it is you want them to do, but it will not take much time for them to do this by themselves 🙂 Keep it fun, keep it simple, and help your kids wash their hands and count away the germs:)

copyright 2014 learning math with mom

copyright 2014 learning math with mom

Stop and Notice How the Day is Changing


What is day? What is morning? What is afternoon? What is evening? What is night? What is dawn?  There is a cycle that is being repeated by nature every time the sun comes up and goes down and the moon joins in at night.  Your baby, or itty bitty one can listen to you as you describe the day or night.  It is about being deliberate about what we already know about the parts of the day and to say it out loud so that our child can listen and observe.  Just like we sometimes point out that this is a yellow banana and the grass is green, and the sky is blue, so do we need to point out change in the day to our child.

Once your child is old enough to notice the clock or begin to talk, start talking about what time it is during the day.  When you are waiting to go out of the house to run an errand, or go visit someone, let your child know what time it is that all of you or both of you will be leaving?  Either write down the time and have it next to the digital clock, or have their toy clock set to the time of departure and have it near the analog clock.  Start talking about what time it is when it is breakfast time, lunch time, nap time, getting ready for bedtime, and time to go to sleep.  This routine you have set for them is associated with the time of day.  Beginning to point out what time opens the child’s world to taking note to time.

This piece of time is not about learning how to tell time by reading a clock, but the beginnings of doing so.  To learn about something, it is better to have a purpose or meaning connected to it.  By beginning the phases of time for day, you are establishing meaning.  The child will begin to notice that the sun is rising or setting.  The child can see that the moon is there in the sky at night.

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


  1. Saturday and Sunday for Go outside and Explore it).

This is a bit of a stretch, but to really understand what is day, what is night, what is morning, and so forth, the baby needs to see it outside.


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


  1. Tuesday for Numbers
  2. Saturday and Sunday for Go Outside and Explore It.  The child must know what day, night, morning, afternoon, evening, and night look like.  Go out and see the sunset or the stars!


Where is this on the Schedule of Activities for 3 to 5 years of age?

  1. Tuesday for Numbers (specifically counting), Quantity, and Measurement
  2. Fridays for Numbers (specifically counting and sequence)
  3. Every day for Play Time.  Go see the stars and the moon, the sun and the sunsets!


Something to Think About:

For this activity, it really is simple to do that does not take any toy or APP to teach.  It really does not take the necessity of buying something extra to teach as well.  It simply takes mindfulness in pointing things out to our child that we may normally take for granted.  When it is time to eat, say what time it is every time.  When it is time to take a nap, what time is it?  When your child wakes up, what time is it and do we say “good morning”?  What time is it to go to bed?  All of these things we normally do not say out loud because we take for granted of what we already know.

With so much going on in our lives and during the day, it is easy to let the day pass without knowing where the time went.  For you and your child, this is a time to stop and be mindful of the time of the day and time you have with each other.  Sometimes taking a moment to pause and notice the change of position of the sun in the sky or the different phases of the moon can really teach your child to be in the moment and paying attention to details.  I truly have been taken things for granted about paying attention to change and to details because things sometimes feel like a blur or rushed during the day.  It is refreshing to point these things out to my kids an just pay attention to the little moments, the subtle changes of the day, and the time it takes for the moon and stars to change the look or position in the sky.  This is a way to become more mindful of things and learn math.

copyright 2013 learning math with mom

copyright 2013 learning math with mom

Yesterday was Thursday, Today is Friday, and Tomorrow will be Saturday

Since I am a huge fan of the dollar store, there was a time where I went to get inspired of what can be used to do a lesson.  It was close to the first day of school and the dollar store usually has many teacher kits and décor for the classroom and there they were, the days of the week.  Needless to say, this was going to be an experiment to see how interested the boys will be in learning about the days of the week.  So I made this dollar purchase and took it home to start sharing.

Before going into too much detail with my 2 year old and newborn about how many days are in a week and how many days are in a month and so on, I just wanted to start saying that yesterday was Thursday, today is Friday, and tomorrow will be Saturday.  As I said that yesterday was Thursday, I would have my 2 year old repeat the word aloud to me.  I would ask him what was on the Thursday card; for example, the clock was on the Thursday card.  This would be repeated for Friday and Saturday.  Next, I wrote down the days of the week on his art easel.  The idea was to show him that Mommy was not just pulling day cards out of the blue, there was an order to them.

At another store, it has a dollar section and it had this plaque with the month, date, and day that can be changed from day to day.  I decide to do this instead of a regular calendar.  Now that my oldest is 3 ½ and my youngest is 2, a changeable calendar will be set up.  The boys might be ready to see how many days are in a week, how many days in a month, and how many months in a year.

Just so you know, my 3 ½ year old has been asking what tomorrow will be and what the day after that will be as well.  It certainly helps now to use the names of the days when family is coming over, or when there is a play date to look forward to.  The youngest is getting into this as well.  It did take some time for them to start asking questions and using the days of the week, but the fact remains that they are applying the concept of time and sequence.

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

Answer:  It’s not.  This will be on another adjusted calendar for 3-4 year olds that I am currently working on.  Once this is semi-finished, it will be posted on the website and added on this blog.  It will be under the categories of sequence and time.  In any case, it is appropriate to do the days of the week for younger ages, but that it might be best to emphasize this for 3 to 4 year olds.

Something to think about:

When talking about the days of the week, this focuses on sequence.  With sequence, something comes first, then second, and then third, of course.  I really wanted my kids to be aware that a day begins and ends and then another day begins and ends.  After some time had passed, in their eyes, one month begins and ends and another month begins.   The goal is to give an opportunity to children to experience time.

As a parent, we might think that 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. 🙂

copyright 2012 learning math with mom