This is the fourth post in the Educational Gifts series – Over the past week I’ve shared ideas for Language Arts, Science and History/Geography. Today I want to share some fun ideas for Math inspired gifts.
One of my homeschooling goals is to show my children that learning isn’t about “school,” or checking assignments off a list. Learning is life. One of the ways I do that is to strew fascinating, fun and educational books, toys, games, etc. in their path.
Math is one of those subjects that you either love or hate, but even if your child dislikes it, there are many fun ways to play with numbers.
Does your child enjoy handheld games? Want a fun way to work on math facts? Check out Educational Insights Math Whiz. Even the name sounds fun. It resembles a handheld gaming device, but it’s essentially an electronic flash card set. It also works as a calculator.
There are lots of really fun math manipulatives out there. I love to find manipulatives that have my children learning concepts and being creative without even realizing they are “doing math.”
One of my children’s all time favorites are Plastic Pattern Blocks . I’ve bought a few sets over the years and so now we have a huge bucket of them. To their mind, they’re just playing with blocks, making pictures and designs. But they’ve learned shape recognition, fine motor skills, patterns, fractions, geometry, and even art. Combine them with these Learning Resources Pattern Block Design Cards for even more puzzle and design options.
Another great manipulative is Unifix Cubes. These offer another opportunity for open ended learning. They come with an activity book to get you started, but they cover a fairly wide range of mathematical learning.
Some other really fun math manipulatives that you might want to consider:
There are also some really fun math games out there that you can play as a family. One of our favorites is Smath. It’s like scrabble but with numbers and instead of making words, you make math sentences. I like that you can customize it to your child by either focusing on only addition or subtraction, for instance.
Tiny Polka Dot offers a set of cards with a variety of different math games that your child can play. This is perfect for your littlest learners.
Thinkfun Balance Beans is super cute and lots of fun to play! It develops thinking skills as they figure out how to balance the colorful pieces and solve equations. Easy to play and easy to put away, with 40 challenges ranging from beginner to expert, it’s perfect for ages 5 – 10.
Prime Climb is a highly rated game about prime numbers where your children will happily practice their multiplication and division skills.
Clumsy Thief is really fun and fast-paced game for the whole family. The objective is to add up to 100 using real math problems.
Are you looking for a toy, rather than a game? You should consider getting a set of WEDGiTS . These are probably one of the toys that are the most played with in our house. We first encountered them when visiting family, and we came home and immediately bought a set. Why? Because these are really fun, not just for the kids, but for everyone. You can create elaborate 3-D sculptures, connecting the blocks in a multitude of ways. While these aren’t specifically “math,” they are great for building fine motor skills, for teaching spacial reasoning, talking about different patterns and shapes, counting, and just so much fun. Like the pattern blocks, you can also purchase a set of Wedgit Starter Cards to give you even more ideas for structure and patterns.
Learning Resources Pizza Fractions are a fun way to explore fractions in real-life context. These are magnetic, so they can be on your fridge for easy access!
Moonjar 3-Part Moneybox Bank – this colorful bank is a wonderful way to teach your child about money. Divided between Save, Spend, and Share, it also comes with a paper passbook for your child to record what they deposited and withdrew from each of the banks. This is a wonderful way to help your child learn how to manage money.
And of course – there are many fantastic living math books!
My children have all enjoyed the Sir Cumference series, but I think our favorite is always going to be Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi. I love the wordplay, and the fact that my children are learning math without even realizing it!
It can be challenging to wrap our minds around really large numbers. That’s why I love How Much is a Million. This picture book really helps to put those large numbers into context in a way that even a small child can understand.
Greg Tang’s math books are not to be missed! The Grapes of Math is a favorite. We love his fun math riddles and bright and colorful artwork. And if you want to incorporate art into your math studies, don’t miss Math-terpieces: The Art of Problem Solving.
Fractions in Disguise: A Math Adventure is a colorful picture book that teaches about fractions with a fun detective story.
How to be a Math Genius – This book is perfect to leave out on the coffee table for your child to browse in their free time. It’s full of puzzles and activities that explore the history of math and how we use it.
We’re almost finished with this series! Next up I’ll cover art related gifts and then the final post will be Cook Family Favorites, so stay tuned!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.