Back to School Math Goodies Giveaway!


My 4 kids went back to school this week.

I’m glad that we’re back into some sort of a routine, but am wondering how I’m going to survive yet another 9+ months of getting up super early.

Whether you’re homeschooling or sending your kids to school, it’s likely that you’re reading the Maths Insider blog to find out how to put some spice in your child’s relationship with math!

Well as a Back to School gift to you, I’ve got together once again, with Bon Crowder, fellow math blogger extraordinaire, from  Math is Not a Four Letter Word to bring you some math inspiration freebies.

Once you’ve signed up (oh! and btw we won’t share your email with anyone else!) You’ll get 9 days of fresh math ideas including:

The Maths Insider Interviews – steal ideas from real life maths teachers

The Four Facts of Math Video – If you don’t put these 4 facts into action you risk another year of maths hating

If You Give a Man Some Hands – the coolest little hand drawn cartoon ebook to share maths ideas with your child

Bumper High School MatBumper Preschool Math Pack

The Super Math Giveaway Preschool and High School Packs – the coolest apps, You Tube channels and podcast for teens and apps, hands-on activities and toys and games for little ones

and much more…..

Click through to the Super Math Giveaway website to find out more and to start receiving your free maths gifts!

p.s. Don’t forget to like and share this on Facebook and Tweet out this rockin’ offer!

p.p.s. If you’re already signed to Super Math Giveaway  from 2 years ago, you’ll get the additional content sent to you. No need to sign up again!

Questimate! – Quite Possibly the Coolest Math iPad App! [Giveaway]


I came across Questimate! by Motion Math a few weeks back when I carrying out some research for my post iPad apps for preschoolers.

You see Jacob Klein and his team at Motion Math have produced some of the coolest IOS apps from the cute Motion Math:Hungry Guppy for little kids to the zoomingly fab Motion Math:Zoom for kids young and old.

Questimate! and Questimate Pro are the latest apps from Motion Math to use their zoom technology to show just how cool math really can be!

 Questimate iPad App

Questimate!  is an estimation game where kids make their own questions:

  • How many giraffes would be as tall as the Statue of Liberty?
  • How fast is the world’s fastest train?
  • How many jelly beans would it take to fill up a soccer ball?
  • In what year was the cell phone invented?

and lots more questions based around the categories of Amazing Animals, Need for Speed, History of Awesome, and GeoOdyssey.

Estimation skills are a really important part of kids math development and are a requirement in the Common Core Standard. Questimate makes estimation fun!

Questimate iPad app

This cool math app is aimed at kids aged 9 and upwards, but you’ll see from the video below of my 6 and 12 year old boys playing Questimate (with some help from their 14 year old sister and their 4 year old brother) that the app has broad appeal.

You can also see from the banter in the video that my kids loved Questimate!

Questimate! is the free version, which you can see my kids playing. There’s also Questimate! – Pro  which gives access to the full range of cool questimation questions!

Motion Math have given me 2 promo codes  for Questimate! – Pro for the iPad worth $7.99 each to give away to Maths Insider readers.

For a chance to win:

  1. Like the Maths Insider FaceBook page
  2. Download the FREE  Questimate! by Motion Math app
  3. Take a photo or screenshot of one of the cool questions that your child makes on Questimate
  4. Upload the pic onto FB and Tag @Maths Insider with a message (e.g Playing Questimate iPad app, recommended by @Maths Insider)

I’ll pick 2 random winners from all entries submitted by midnight GMT Sunday 8th September 2013.

Help your Bookworm Child Start Loving Mathematics


This is a guest post by Davis Miller:

As far as math is concerned, most kids in the U.S. are not making the grade. Former math teacher at Stanford, Jo Boaler, published  What’s Math Got to Do with It?: How Parents and Teachers Can Help Children Learn to Love Their Least Favorite Subject in which she offers great advice for parents struggling to help their children love math. She outlines practical solutions meant to change perspectives including study strategies and tips to make even the keenest book lover appreciate math. Boaler believes that kids could be interested in mathematical ideas as long as they’re fascinating and eye-catching. Games, easy puzzles, and patterns are great ways of making bookworm kids fond of math.

everyday math

Math fun with M&Ms

Who doesn’t love M&Ms? They’re colorful, fun to play with and of course, delicious. Kids will love to sort them by color, count them, and eat them. It’s equally important for parents to ask their kids questions like: “How many green M&Ms do you think you have?” “How many M&Ms are in total?” Appealing to their senses and tricking them into getting out of their comfort zone is an excellent way of helping them love math. A lot of parents think that there’s no way to make their bookworm children appreciate mathematics. As far as kids are concerned, remember this: there’s always a way to catch their attention, you just have to find it.

Every day chores may lead to math opportunities

Most every day chores involve math skills. Therefore, as a loving parent you should find the best ways to make your kids love it. Shopping, cooking, planning trips, cleaning, they’re all related in one way or another to mathematics. For example, you should start by including daily activities that include numbers, but try not to scare your kids away with demanding tasks. Make a pie and ask for help from your kid. Let him measure ingredients and the experience won’t just be educative, it will also be entertaining. Your toddler may be a book person, but still, who can say No to pie?

Math and literature are like yin and yang

While that may be true, we all know that opposites attract. Did you ever think of recommending your child a book with math concepts? It doesn’t have to be something obvious, and as long as the text is perfectly combined with the math, your kid will love it. Parents must constantly find ways to draw their children’s attention. Check out the math related story books in the Go Read Some Math post. You could organize weekly ‘book clubs’ and spend more time together. Appeal to his logical side and try to see if you can make him more curious about math. Early childhood brings about an array of hobbies, so your kid will want to be doctor today, a pilot tomorrow, and who knows, maybe he will end up an engineer 20 years from now.

Math and chess

Teach your kids to play chess

Rather simple at first, chess is a really complex strategy game. It requires great analytical skills, so you can’t know if your kids have them or not unless you teach them. Take things slow and make them understand the rules first. Try as much as you can to do it in a fun way, and try not to put pressure on your toddlers. To make them feel good about themselves, let them win every once in a while. It’s really important for parents to be supportive as far as learning math is concerned, and board games are a fun, engaging way to make such an exact science seem more laidback.

Math is everywhere

We cannot help but admit that math is everywhere. As a parent, you need to take advantage of that if you want to make your bookworm kid love numbers more than his beloved Juggle Book by Kipling. Numbers are constantly present in our daily lives, and to make things interesting for kids you need to come up with facts. Watch morning weathercasts together and calculate simple equations, use fractions for fruit divisions, and if you just bought a lottery ticket, allow your kid to fill in the numbers.

As parents we cannot force our kids into liking math; what we can do is make use of smart techniques that will make them like it. You may not realize it, but fun learning methods could awaken your child’s interest in math. Without proper encouragement you won’t be able to convince a bookworm child to give up reading.


Author Bio: Davis Miller is a fun loving guy who loves to play with children. He is a writer and his articles are mainly focused on school-going children. Apart from that, he also works for a site which is an ultimate guide to Exam success.


How to Pay Off One Trillion Dollars – Math Video


Caught my 12 and 13 year old’s watching this cool math video last week titled How to Pay Off One Trillion Dollars and had to share it with you!

head squeeze you tube math

I’ve written recently about Fab Math and Science You Tube Channels which keep me away from the cooking and my kids away from their homework! The Head Squeeze Channel’s Number Hub episodes (released every Tuesday) are math videos that definitely present math in a fun and interesting way for pre-teens, teens and adults.

Check the Trillion Dollars video out below:


Listen Up! 8 Fascinating Podcasts to Spark a Love of Math in your Teen

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I’ve calculated that I spend around 14 hours a week in my car, with school runs, and shipping my kids to after school activities. During these trips, we spend a lot of time chatting (If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?) and also a little time  staring at the traffic out of the window as well as a lot of time bickering.

One of my favorite in-car activities when I’m on my own in the car is listening to podcasts. I’ve even spent a few dollars and bought the amazing Downcast app so I can easily search, arrange, queue, and play my favorite podcasts. It’s way better than the built in podcast app on my iPhone and is well worth the $1.99.

As well as the Freakonomics podcast which almost always gets played as soon as it’s released and is popular with my teen and preteen as well, we also love the How to Do Everything podcast. I’ve only been listening intensively to podcasts for the past few months and as with any new hobby, I can’t help thinking, “Everyone should be doing this!”

Listening to podcasts is a great way of taking in new information and taking a fresh look at old information for anyone with a busy lifestyle, like parents and teens. So whether you’re a fellow podcast fan or have yet to discover this cool way of filling in dead time; here’s a list of 8 fascinating podcasts to help spark a love of math in your teen:


Photo courtesy of Olly Hart

Freakonomics Radio

In their books “Freakonomics” and “SuperFreakonomics,” Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner explore “the hidden side of everything,” with stories about cheating schoolteachers, self-dealing real-estate agents, and crack-selling mama’s boys. The Freakonomics Radio podcast, hosted by Dubner, carries on that tradition with weekly episodes. Prepare to be enlightened, engaged, perhaps enraged, and definitely surprised.

This is my favorite podcast of all. The mix of statistics and economics and psychology brought to life by the 2 Steve’s makes this a must listen-to podcast series. Episodes range from just a few minutes long to up to an hour, but the professional editing and storytellinh=g makes those minutes whizz through in a flash.

Maths Insider pick: Women Are Not Men

Equality of the sexes has long been a goal, and in many ways that goal is being met. But, as you’ll hear on this program, the variance between men and women on some dimensions is still large. … We’re not trying to start any arguments. We’re just trying to look at the data that show differences between men and women to figure out why those differences exist, and how meaningful they are.

Math Dude Quick and Dirty Tips

The Math Dude’s Quick and Dirty Tips to Make Math Easier seeks to undo those years of classroom pain and suffering. Find tips and tricks to make math fun—and useful—again.

Part of the Quick and Dirty Tips team which includes my other favorites, The Get Fit Guy and The Mighty Mommy, The Math Dude unravels the mysteries of math in these short podcasts. (each episode is usually less than 10 minutes long)As a teacher and mathematician Jason Marshall holds the listener’s hand as he cuts through the math jargon.

Maths Insider pick: How to Use Percentages to Easily Calculate Tips

Learn the power of ten percent to easily calculate the tip next time you visit your favorite restaurant.


More or Less: Behind the Stats

Tim Harford investigates numbers in the news. Numbers are used in every area of public debate. But are they always reliable? Tim and the More or Less team try to make sense of the statistics which surround us.

More or Less is another podcast which I love listening to with my 13 and 12 year olds. It’s made by the BBC which as an expat Brit reminds me of home. Highlighting the way in which math and statistics can be used and misused, each episode will leave you with a great talking point as to why the statistics you’ve heard recently in the news may not be all they seem.

Maths Insider pick: Are there more black men in college or prison in the US?

Only last week Ivory Toldson heard the speaker say there are more black men in prison in America than in college. ‘Here we go again’ he thought. Only the week before he had written his second article on why this statistic is not true. This week Ruth Alexander looks at where this ‘fact’ came from and why it is still being used.

Math Mutation

Welcome to Math Mutation, a podcast where we discuss fun, interesting, or just plain wierd corners of mathematics that you would not have heard in school.

I only came across this podcast while rearching this post, but it’s such a nice little podcast that I’ve added it to my Downcast podcast list. An independent podcast presented by engineer and teacher, Erik Seligman, these 5 minute podcast episodes are a mix and myth-busting and math, with some jokes thrown in.

Maths Insider pick: Perfect Maps

The various complications in creating 1 to 1 scale maps.

perfect maps podcast episode

Travels in a Mathematical World

Travels in a Mathematical World is a mathematics (or maths or math, if you like) podcast by Peter Rowlett, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, featuring mathematicians talking about their work as well as features on maths history and maths news.

Peter Rowlett has taken a break from making these podcasts for the time being, but there’s plenty of cool episodes in the back catalogue to entertain anyone with even a small amount of interest in mathematics. I really like the short interviews with real-life mathematicians explaining how they use math in their careers.

Maths Insider pick: Interview with Sarah Norton – Systems Engineer

Sarah Norton talks about her work in systems engineering and a specific application for fire engines responding to mobile phone emergency calls.

Inspired by Math!

As the blogger at Wild About Math! Sol Lederman interviews people who are inspired by math and are inspiring others.

When I first started Maths Insider nearly 3 years ago, Sol Lederman was kind enough to publish my guest post (Sneaking Math Into Children’s Diets) on his wildly popular Wild About Math! blog. Sol interviews a variety of folks who in one way or another are helping to dispel the idea that math is a difficult and boring subject.

Maths Insider pick: Leila Schneps & Coralie Colmez

An interview with the mother-daughter team who authored “Math on Trial: How Numbers Get Used and Abused in the Courtroom.”  Talking about inspiration for writing the book, flaws in mathematical thinking, how justice is derailed by bad math in the courtroom, a number of examples of cases from the book, and more.

Pop-Up Economics

Economist Tim Harford weaves together economic ideas with some remarkable personal histories, telling short stories about fascinating people in front of a live audience in some unusual locations.

Another cool BBC podcast, this time linking math, economics and really interesting storytelling. These 10 minute episodes are great for teens and adults alike as the relate how individuals have made use of math to achieve some fascinating results.

Maths Insider pick: The day the geeks took over poker 

The story of Chris Ferguson who applied game theory to poker and won. Big time. But, as Ferguson would find out, there’s always a bigger game.

A Brief History of Maths

Professor Marcus du Sautoy argues that mathematics is the driving force behind modern science. Ten fifteen minute podcasts that reveal the personalities behind the calculations from Newton to the present day. How do these masters of abstraction find a role in the real world?

These stand alone episodes  take a peak inside the lives of some of the most notable mathematicians through history. Sit back and listen to Professor Marcus du Sautoy and his guests tell the stories behind these famous mathematicians including how they started on their path to math greatness and how they overcame the obstacles they faced.

Maths Insider pick: Evariste Galois

Professor Marcus du Sautoy on his favourite mathematician, an angry, young genius who did his best maths in prison and died in a duel, aged 20.

Do you listen to podcasts? Have you listened to any math related podcasts recently? Which are your favorites?


Why Kids Should Care About Math: 3 Unlikely Careers that Use Math Skills


This is a guest post by Susan Cumberland, owner of School is Easy Tutoring in Vancouver

Not all careers require extensive math study, however, most careers do utilize basic math skills everyday.

If your child doesn’t care about math and wonders why it is important for them to learn math at school or with a tutor, here are 3 unlikely professions that use math skills that could help your child start to care about math. After reading this, they just might be motivated to learn after all.

Maybe your child wants to be a fashion designer, a chef, or a racecar driver? They will be surprised to see that these three professions use math all the time.

Math for the fashion designer:

Fashion design math

Anyone who has ever done a sewing project knows how important measurements are. Without the proper measurements or with the slightest inconsistency, the finished product will not fit properly or will look poorly made. When designing a garment you have to take into account the width of the seams and make sure you cut enough fabric to allot for the seams, so that it is the perfect size once it is all sewn together.

If your child fantasizes about becoming a famous fashion designer consider doing a sewing project together. Let them learn just how important the proper calculations are. First you need to calculate how much fabric you will need for your project. Fabric is measured in yards, so they need to know how many feet or meters are in a yard. Then they will need to take measurements of the person or the mannequin to determine the final size of the garment. Then they need to add 5/8” to each side of each piece of material for the seam allowance.

If they are impatient and just want to do the project without calculating, then let them try and see how it turns out. Once they see that the final product doesn’t fit or they don’t even have enough material to finish their project, then they will truly value the importance of math.

Math for the chef:

chef math

Whether you are restaurant chef, a pastry chef or an at home cook you will find that math skills are very useful in the kitchen.  When buying ingredients you need to calculate how much of each ingredient you will need and how much it will cost. For a pastry chef in a bakery, if someone calls in an order for 500 cupcakes, you need to know how much extra flour, sugar, eggs etc. you will need in order to make 500 additional cupcakes.

You also need to calculate how many batches of cupcakes there will be and how many ovens you have, in order to determine how long it will take to bake all of the cupcakes. These math skills are all important so you can have the order ready in time for the customer to pick up.

To emphasize the importance of math for your child who wants to be a chef, why not let them plan a special dinner for friends and family. When cooking or baking for a larger group of people, recipes need to be adjusted. Your child will need to learn how to double a recipe (multiply 2/3 of a cup by 2 to get 1 1/3 cups) or convert from grams to ounces and pounds.

They should establish a budget for the meal.  If they invite five guests, then they need to calculate how much of each ingredient is needed for each item of the meal. Help them to do the calculations on a piece of paper and then make a grocery list with the final item quantities and prices.

Once they go to the grocery store they will have to figure out what adjustments will need to be made in order to prepare the dinner within their budget. They could also prepare a menu with the meal prices so they can see how much of a profit would be made after subtracting the cost to prepare the meal. As a bonus question they could also calculate the tip that guests would need to pay the server.

Math for the race car driver:

Ford Fiesta RS WRC (2011)

Race car driving doesn’t seem like a career that utilizes math. However, race car drivers are constantly doing mental math, even when they are in motion on the racetrack.  A race car driver needs to be able to calculate their speed in relation to the degree of the curve in the race track in order to know how much to slow down and how much to turn the wheel. These calculations are necessary in order for the driver to maintain their lead in the race and also to ensure their own safety.

They also need to calculate how much gas is being used while driving certain speeds so they will know how many gallons are left in their tank and when they need to take a pit stop to refill the gas tank. Using this type of math keeps race car drivers safe, prevents the car from running out of gas in the middle of a race and helps them win first place.  Who knew that math would be so useful for a race car driver?

The book How Race Car Drivers Use Math? is for students who are between the ages of 7 and 11.  It shows how race car drivers use math as an everyday tool.

These are just three unlikely careers that use math, but there are many more.  Whatever career goal your child has, there are ways to show them the importance of using math skills for those types of jobs as well.  Your child may even have fun during the learning process!

 About the Author:

Susan Cumberland has a Masters of Education in Educational Leadership and Counselling, Bachelor of Secondary Education and has won many entrepreneurial awards including ‘Entrepreneur of the Year.’

She is currently the owner of one of the largest tutoring companies in Vancouver, B.C., School is Easy Tutoring. Her company offers tutors in Vancouver for all subjects (grades 1 -12), including languages, Special Education, Exam preparation and Study Skills.

For more about math careers check out the post: 10 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Math

8 Ways to Make Your Child’s High School Maths Revision Add Up


In the UK, the Easter holiday or Spring Break is the time when high school students get down to some serious last minute revision for their upcoming GCSE and A-Level exams, with some students even attending special revision camps over the holiday. This is a guest post by SJ, a freelance contributor. She outlines 8 tactics that can help make your child’s maths revision more fruitful:

When preparing for a Maths exam, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of work that you need to do, or the amount of content that you need to cover. Moreover, anyone who’s not a natural mathematician will find it difficult to break down and practice particular problems, and will need to spend more time revising core parts of a course. There are a number of approaches, however, that can help you to improve your child’s Maths revision and help them get the most out of their exams.

1. Break Down the Exam

Look at the syllabus and what your child needs to cover in the exam, and check with their tutors or teachers over what sort of time you need to allocate to different parts of the test. Some questions in an exam are only worth one or two marks, so make sure they know how much time they need to work on them – doing practice tests can make it easier.

2. Practice Writing Out Your Calculations

To work through ideas effectively, and to practice for the exam, encourage your teen to write out their calculations and formulas, and draw graphs and equations.

3. Identify Key Areas

When looking at the syllabus, try to identify areas that they are particularly unsure about, and make sure that they spend more time on them than going over anything they’re already familiar with. You may want to speak to their tutor about extra resources if they’re struggling with a particular area.

4. Practice with Friends and Family

This is a particularly useful approach if there’s a mental Maths part of a test – asking them questions, or even just getting them to recite formulae, can help your child to be more confident for an upcoming exam.

5. Update Your Child’s Equipment

While they should already have all the equipment they need from their lessons, it’s worth double checking that they have, and are comfortable with using their calculator, and any extra tools they might need on the day of the exam.

6. Use Revision Cards

Cue cards and notes can be particularly useful for remembering key points, and can be stuck up around their room to remind them. Diagrams and equations can also be added and stuck to noticeboards to go over.

7. Use Maths Revision Apps

There are many different apps available for  Maths revision, depending on what level they’re studying. Collins offer revision apps to go with their textbooks, while the BBC’s GCSE Bitesize series has its own series of apps. Maths Card and other apps are also useful for producing virtual post it notes, and for taking practice tests.

8. Vary Their Revision

Perhaps the most important thing to focus on when doing Maths revision is to vary it to make sure they’re not overloading themselves in key areas. Don’t let them focus on one area all the time, and try not to allow them to get stuck on parts of an exam that they find too difficult – similarly, a long period of gradual revision is always better than rushing to get everything completed on time a few weeks before an exam is set to be held.

About the Author:

SJ is a freelance writer and contributor. She is an expert in writing articles about education regarding maths. She has written various articles on how to improve your Maths revision before any examinations and get the most out of it.

Top Maths Insider Posts 2012 (and how may I help you in 2013)


Hope you’re having an amazing start to 2013! If helping your child develop a love of math is high on your list of things to get done this year, then I’d love to help you achieve this through my posts here on Maths Insider. What topics would you like to see covered in the year ahead? To give you some ideas, here are the Top 10 posts that Maths Insider readers flocked to in 2012:

Top 10 Maths Insider posts of 2012

1) 8 Things to Hate about Kumon – A Review 48,724 views

Still at the top of the list since I wrote this post back in 2010! Kumon is the largest after school math profgram in the world and therefore it’s no surprise that parents are either looking for some feedback on the program before they enrol their child, or wondering if it’s worth continuing once their child has been on the program for a while. As a ex Kumon instructor I shed some light on the negative (and some of the positive!) aspects of Kumon.

2) 10 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Maths – 26,139 views

One of my personal favorites and great to see that Maths Insider readers are as excited about how math can lead to some seriously cool careers. Also check out the link in that post to the free “share to get” full color booklet 21 Seriously Cool Careers That Need Math for some seriously cool math inspiration.

3) About Kumon – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – 23,730 views

More Kumon revelations. This time I start with the good points about Kumon (2 of my own kids were on the program for several years – it ain’t all bad!) but then also highlight some of the important aspects that can cause problems (I’ve even had an instructor email me privately to say that they agree with both the positives and negatives) For those of you whose children are doing the Kumon math program, do you agree with me?

4) 16 Cool iPad Math Apps (That Your Child Might Actually Love!) – 11,564 views

It’s hard to believe that the iPad is less then 3 years old! With thousands of Math apps of varying qualities on the App store, this post highlight my pick of the best. Don’t forget to check out my post about my very favorite math app Dragon Box.

5) 24 Short and Sweet Preschool Maths Activities. – 11,229 views

I’m a big fan of anything that makes math fun, especially for younger kids. I’m not one to send time making resources, but will happily spend a few minutes making and cutting up numbers cards for a quick game of hide the numbers or log on to a kids website for some math videos and games. You’ll find some other nice and simple activities in this post.

6) The Ultimate Kumon Review – 9,603 views

My first published book on Amazon (in a recent Amazon recommends email, they even suggested I may be interested in buying my own book!) In The Ultimate Kumon Review I spill the beans on what kind of families I think the Kumon program works for and which families it doesn’t (yes it’s not just do do with the child) The questionnaire at the end of the book will help parents decide if the Kumon program is right for their child.

7) No! No! No! No! Don’t Let your Child Finger Count! – 8,500 views

A controversial post again written in 2010, but still popular as ever with parents who are anxious about their child’s finger counting. I’m actually not so militant about this topic these days but there’s no getting away from the fact that whether it’s used as a crutch or because a child really can’t work out the answer, finger-counting is something that can be replaced  by other strategies.

8) Who else wants their child to be lightening fast at mental maths? – Introduction – 6,655 views

 Ironically, this post is based on the idea of slow increments and mastery which are the foundations of the Kumon program. Find out how to build your own mental arithmetic routine with your child in this post and the 2 videos linked to in the post.

9) 13 Cool, Beautiful and Inspirational Math Quotes – 5,961 views

More math inspiration! I fired up Powerpoint on my laptop and with limited artistic skills took some cool math quotes and some cool fonts and backgrounds and produced this math-eye-candy post. Which is your favorite quote?

10) Have You Seen These 8 High Quality, Free Maths Websites? – 5,504 views

Everyone loves a bargain, even when it comes to math resources. You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to high quality online math programs, but the websites in this post offer some great free options.

Tell me what you think!

So tell me, which are your favorite posts on Maths Insider? What can I help you with in 2013? Tell me in the comments below, hit the Contact buton at the top of the page or if  you’re a subscriber reading this in your inbox, don’t be shy, hit reply and tell me how I can help your child love math in 2013!

101+ Cool Math Gifts Ideas – Spread the Math Love!

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With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, it’s that time of year when people’s thoughts turn to the seemingly never-ending list of perfect presents  for family and friends. Math gifts and toys are a great choice, since they help to encourage a love of math (and spread the math love!) For a huge choice of more than 101 of the best math gift ideas to spread the math love with, check out the ideas below:

Math gifts for young and old

For a varied list of cool math gifts for everyone from babies to math teachers check out the 18 gift suggestions in The Maths Insider Ultimate Maths Gifts Guide. I love the cute baby bodysuits with statements such as “Cutie Pi” and “Peace-Love-Math” but I’m still waiting for someone to buy me the math clock where the answers to the sums make the numbers around the clock!

Fun Math Board Games

Board games make great family gifts. See my choice of math based board games at 10 Fun Parent-Tested Math Board Games. From dinosaur multiplication to algebraic equations, there’s a math board game to suit young mathematicians of all ages.

Top 10 Recommended Times Tables Games and Resources

In this recent post on my Faster Times Tables website, you’ll find a list of parent recommended times tables games and resources along with what parents liked about them. I’m a big fan of the simple resources such as the math war cards and the multiplication placemat, but techy kids will also love the LeapFrog Turbo Twist for practising those essential arithmetic sums.

Kid Learning Tablets

When it comes to electronic educational toys, the buzz this year has been centered on kids learning tablets. These kids friendly iPad like devices look set to be some of the best sellers of the year. Some such as the LeapPad 2 have educational games preloaded onto them, but all have lots of great math games available to buy and download. Check out what parents have to say about the LeapPad 2, the Oregon Scientific MEEP Pad, the VTech InnoPad 2 and the Tabeo.

Math Toys for Preschoolers

For nice ideas on gifts to encourage your youngest children to develop a love of math, check out the post 11 Bestselling Maths Learning Toys for Preschoolers. I did end up buying the cool wipeable “Counting to 100” placemat for one of my own kids after writing that post!

Math Apps

iPad apps may not seem the most obvious choice, but by using the “Gift this app” option in iTunes when you’re browsing apps, you can easily send a mini gift code, that can be used by the recipient (isn’t it funny that spending money on our iTunes account doesn’t feel like we’re spending real money!) To get you started, take a look at these 16 Cool iPad Math Apps (That Your Child Might Actually Love!

Math Books

My personal shopping addiction is buying books for my kids. We’ve got a fair few math story books and games around the house, many of which were bought as gifts. Find out what books I recommend in the The Maths Insider Amazon Store. You’ll also find further ideas for math games and workbooks.



If after browsing through the 101+ math gift ideas, you still need some more inspiration for educational gifts check out the Amazon Holiday Toy List and click on the “Learning Toys Tab” to see what educational toys are currently most popular! Happy shopping!

Grade by Grade Math Targets: Where Does Your Child Stand?

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This is a guest post by Kathy from, a website that helps consumers find out what things cost.

If you have a child that is in school right now, you may often wonder where your child should stand in terms of their mathematical skills. Sure, while they are getting decent grades, does it really mean that they are up to par with the average student in their grade? To give you a better idea where your child stands, I went ahead and wrote up some key math milestones that every parent should know.

Kindergarten Math

In kindergarten, your child should be able to print, locate, order, read and represent numbers up to at least 10. They should also be able to count to 10 forward and backwards. Using visual objects, your kindergartener should know basic adding, such as adding one more penny to the pile of six.

In terms of measurement, your child should know the different times such as afternoon, night and morning. They should also know the basics of time and the definition of short and tall. Aside from measurements, the average kindergartener will know their basic shapes and patterns.

Second Grade Math

By the second grade, your child should be able to print, locate, order, estimate and identify numbers up to at least 1000. Mentally, they should also be able to add and subtract numbers under 25.

In increments, your child should understand basic counting by 1s, 5s, 10s and 20s.

While most second graders haven’t learned division yet, some that excel can understand the basic fundamentals.

In terms of measurements, second graders should understand the time, the terms inches, yards, feet and centimeters. They should also know the month of the year and the basic reading of a thermometer.

Fourth Grade Math

By fourth grade, it’s almost time for your child to jump ship to middle school. By this time, your child should be able to read numbers up to 10,000 and they should be able to count by any number up to 100.

Your child should also understand basic multiplication up to at least the 10x tables. They should also know how basic decimals work and how to add and subtract them. While fractions may be new to some classes, they should understand the basics by now.

In the measurement area, the typical fourth grader should understand all the basic measurements. They should know how to make change with money up to $100 and how to measure perimeters and the area of basic shapes.

As statistics are slowly being introduced to the older elementary students, fourth graders should learn how to use logical when collecting data and how to create graphs with simple data that has been given to them.

Eighth Grade Math

As the last grade in most middle schools, the typical eighth grader should have a wealth of knowledge by now. Eighth graders should know the basics of multiples, integers, square roots and factors. They should also know how to make any basic measurement.

Depending on your child’s skill set, most will be able to solve many
complex problems using a variety of formulas.

In the geometry sector, most student scan and classify many geometric shapes, calculate areas and volumes as well as solve a variety of geometric problems.

12th Grade Math

As your child gears for college, you’re going to find that many seniors in high school are going to be on so many different levels. Some are going to complete Calculus, while some will only take the minimum math requirements necessary. With that being said, here’s where most 12th graders should stand in the math world:

Most high schoolers should have taken math classes up to Algebra II. Here, students should have learned about radical expression and exponents, the binomial theorem, graph ellipses and hyperbolas, linear equations,  probability and permutations and combinations. If this sounds foreign to your child, they probably didn’t pay enough attention in class!

Remember, it’s never too early to start supporting your child’s math learning whether by becoming your own child’s math tutor or by hiring a math tutor from outside.  As you already know, if your child doesn’t understand one math concept, it’s going to be awfully hard to comprehend lessons coming forward!

Kathy Cady runs a website that give readers a guide to how much things cost from car seats to cavity removal!