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.


The 16 Best iPhone and iPad Math Apps for Preschoolers


My 2 youngest children aged 4 and 6 have a heap of  iPhone and iPad apps that they love to play, including some math ones. Last month I put a call out on my Maths Insider Facebook page and my personal Facebook page for cool and educational iPhone and iPad apps for preschoolers. I’ve gathered the best suggestions, our household favorites and recommendations from other websites to compile this in-no-particular-order list of 16 of the best iPhone and iPad preschool math apps.

1) Intro to Math by Montessorium

Help your child learn he basic foundations of math with this beautiful app from Montessorium. Your child can get a head start with reading, writing and understanding the numbers from 0 to 9, including sequencing, odds and evens and spatial relationships. The help also introduces basic problem solving and fine motor skills. Intro to Math is a Universal app that will work on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Exercises are based on classic Montessori equipment and include:

  • RED RODS –  understand length, by arranging the rods from longest to shortest.
  • NUMBER RODS – an introduction to the idea of quantity, and how it corresponds to numbers.
  • SANDPAPER NUMBERS – concentrating  on the symbols of the numbers, and how to write them.through a number of guided tracing exercises.

Intro to Math by Montessorium

2) Team Umizoomi Math: Zoom into Numbers

One of the most enthusiastic math apps that I’ve come across! Game instructions are delivered by the voices of Milli, Geo, and Bot so your child can’t fail to get excited about math while using this app.

Your child will use mighty math powers to explore Umi City by playing five math games:

•Toy Store – A counting game

•Number Bubbles – A number identification game

•Race Around Umi City – A number comparison game

•Up! Up! And balloons! – An addition/subtraction game

•Rolling Toy Parade – A number line game

umizoomi iPad math

These cool games are leveled, and designed to increase in difficulty. Appropriate hints are given to support your child as they practice and build their math skills. There are also player profiles that allow more than one child to play and save their progress.

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3) Counting and Addition!

The free version of Counting and Addition! covers addition up to 6,  but parents can upgrade within the game to unlock the adding to 10 and adding to 15 levels. The game also features:

  • Self adjusting levels of difficulty
  • Unique progress tracker for parents
  • Detailed stats for your child that can be compared with children the same age
  • Recommended learning path personalized for your child
  • 27 fun rewards and medals to motivate your child to learn

counting and adding app

4) Numberlys

The Numberlys app is more of a “short film” experience rather than a game. It presents a fanciful depiction of the origins of the alphabet in a land where only numbers exist. Numberlys is huge in scope. According to Moonbot, the creators of this Universal app:

“It’s an adventure! A mystery! A game! And a story! It’s a new way to entertain, learn and rediscover our storytelling “golden age””.

5) iWriteWords 

Primarily an app for writing letters, this app features a number writing section. Your child will help Mr. Crab collect the numbered balls by dragging him with their finger – and drawing the letter or number at the same time. Once all the letters or numbers are drawn properly, a cute drawing appears. Your child can then tilt their device to slide the letters/numbers into the spinning hole and advance to the next level.

My own kids have spent many a session practicing their number and letter formations on this cute app. The perfect blend of visual and audio cues and rewards make this an effective yet relaxing game for preschoolers. Need more convincing?

from A Touch of Learning:

“Its got an intuitive interface for young children. It has high quality graphics and effects. I have no hesitation in recommending this app for children ready to start learning to write. To me, this is exactly the sort of app I am looking for in my quest to have apps that are fun, but teach my kids something really useful in the real world.”

from AppStruck:

“The whole app is delightful to behold. Bright background colors are juxtaposed against equally bright and scribbly child-like artwork that convey the word being spelled. You and your child will enjoy tracing your finger along those necessary building blocks of language. With its memorable artwork and way cool physics engine, it is sure to entertain and teach your child.”

Watch this review from Chris from IPad in Canada:

6) Shape Builder – the Preschool Learning Puzzle Game

Perfect for building up fine motor skills and spatial awareness with easy to move shapes that snap into place on top of silhouette puzzles. Each puzzle has 5 to 10 pieces & after positioning all of the pieces, the real image is revealed along with a professional voice recording of the word spoken by a licensed speech therapist that specializes in early child development.

Shape Builder encourages cognitive thinking and introduces preschoolers to animals, produce, objects & numbers and the alphabet in a fun & engaging format with great sound effects! Shape builder features a total of 158 puzzles including the numbers from 1 to 20.

Take a look at some of the puzzles (and a singing preschooler!) in the video below:

7) Count TV – Sesame Street

Your preschooler will join Count Von Count from Sesame Street in this cool app full of classic Sesame Street counting videos! The Count teaches your child to touch the screen and count along with Cookie Monster, Ernie, Grover and other Sesame Street characters.

Curriculum skills covered include number recognition, counting and making choices.

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8) Monkey Math School Sunshine 

A fun and shiny game for your preschooler, Monkey Math School Sunshine is a great, easy to use math game for your little one. A cute cheeky monkey guides the child through game play with animated celebrations for correct answers and gentle redirection for incorrect ones.

The game automatically adjusts the challenge levels to each individual player. Your child collects prizes to fill their very own interactive aquarium.

There are 9 interactive games that teach kids about sequencing, patterning, counting, adding and subtracting:

?ADD IT UP and TAKE IT AWAY Use addition and subtraction skills to solve math problems with multiple-choice answer options.

?PATTERNS Monkey has a problem: Objects keep popping out of his bucket, creating a pattern – but one piece is missing! Help Monkey by completing the pattern with the choices provided.

?SHAPES Is it an octagon? Or maybe a hexagon? Count each side of these shapes and help Monkey figure it out.

?SEQUENCES Monkey has a group of numbers in the right order, but some are missing. Help him complete the sequence with the correct numbers.

?LESS/MORE Monkey loves to blow bubbles, when he does, groups of shells, fish or turtles are inside each bubble! Use your expertise to figure out which bubble has either the most or least objects inside.

?BIGGER/SMALLER Which bubble has the bigger number? Which bubble has the smaller one? Help Monkey figure it out by popping the correct bubble.

?CONNECT THE DOTS Baby Turtle is stuck on the beach and she needs your help to get to the sea! Connect the dots to show her the way.

?WRITE IT UP! Help Monkey learn his numbers by tracing them in the sand.

?BUBBLE POP Monkey is running out of time! Pop all the bubbles that have either the right number or the right amount of objects inside before the time runs out!

9) Numbers with Nemo by Disney

This Disney Learning interactive app that helps kids practice essential early math skills. Children join Nemo and his undersea friends in lots of fun-filled activities that reinforce early math skills, including: counting and tracing numbers, counting and matching the number of objects in different groups, number identification, and sequencing.

Parents can track progress and results for up to four children in the parents’ section. They can also record all the numbers in their own voice. The game also includes activity suggestions that can be played offline.

10) Motion Math: Hungry Guppy

The developers at Motion Math have a whole suite of excellent, high quality, engaging math apps for kids, and Motion Math: Hungry Guppy is no different. Aimed at kids aged 3-7 years, it’s easy to play with kids just needing to drag and drop bubbles to feed their fish.

Hungry Guppy encourages learners to build a strong sense of addition and understand what numbers represent – for example, “???” and “3” have the same meaning.

• In the Dots levels, young children who don’t yet know number symbols can practice addition. They’ll learn, for example, that ? + ?? makes ???.

• In the Mixed levels, kids will learn number symbols. For example, ??? and 3 have the same meaning, even if the dots are in a different alignment or in funny colors.

• In the Numbers levels, learners can practice adding numbers up to 5, seeing the many different ways to make a sum.

11) Curious About Shapes and Colors: Curious George

Who doesn’t love Curious George? The Curious About Shapes and Colors app is a great for curious preschoolers to explore shapes and colors.

Little ones are introduced to:

• Basic shapes like circles, squares and triangles

• More complex shapes including pentagons, hexagons, diamonds, rectangles, and ovals

• Primary and secondary colors, along with varying tones

• Pattern recognition and sequencing • Skills like sorting, constructing, tracing, and coloring

Watch the cute game play in the video below:

12) Bugs and Buttons

Bugs and buttons is a beautifully executed app which lets preschoolers and beyond practice primary math skills such as counting and sorting and secondary skills such as pattern finding, tracking, path finding and fine motor skills.

There are 18 skill adaptive games and activities including:

• Flinging bees at a target flower.

• Flying a butterfly through butterfly valley (tilt to steer).

• Playing tic-tac-toe with a dragonfly.

• Sorting and packing buttons fresh off the factory conveyer belt.

• Racing roaches across the finish grate/line.

• Removing and sorting bugs infesting the button production.

• Catching bugs frantically scurrying about.

• Picking apples while dodging bees.

• Catching buttons falling off Uncle Bob’s button truck.

• Helping bugs find their way through mazes.

• Interactively count bugs.

13) Bugs and Numbers

From the same developers as Bugs and Buttons, the Bugs and Numbers universal app provides an extensive collection of unique games focused on helping kids to learn and practice a wide range of math skills in a non-traditional way.   The game is organized into three basic stages, the app grows with your child through 18 games ranging from basic counting to early fractions.

Designed around a bug city, activities include serving bugs food at the local diner that happens to spin on an old vinyl record, or helping ferry ants across water in an egg carton. It’s fun, unique, as well as being educational.

Math skills taught in the 3 stages are :


• Number and shape identity at the circus

• Practice left and right on an old arcade machine

• Seek and find while counting at a junkyard

• Tap and count while serving food at the local diner

• Paint by numbers at the gallery

• Match numbers and shapes at the hotel


• Count to 100 at the garage

• Trace numbers and shapes at school

• Arrange sequencing on a xylophone

• Comparisons at the theater

• Sort, count, and tally at the store

• Math with 10 on the ferry


• US currency on the old claw machine

• Practice time at the train station

• Find patterns in the zen garden

• Work with fractions at the pizzeria

• Measure length and weight in the lab

• Addition and subtraction on the gameshow

The video below by Children’s Technology Review tests out the Bugs and Numbers app.

14) Bert’s Bag by Sesame Street

In this game brought to you by Sesame Street, Bert teaches your child to count the surprising things he finds in his bag including marbles, bottlecaps, and even Ernie’s rubber duckie! Your child gets to count along with Bert while improving their number recognition, counting  and following instructions skills.

Bert's bag app

15) Memory Train

Your little one gets to hop on the train with Spacey the elephant and help him focus his memory while on the way to the circus. Memorize the characteristics of objects passing by and recall them to earn stars, badges, and peanuts.

Memory train app

Kids will be challenged to remember things like:

“What color was the shape?”

“Which one was green?”

“What number just passed by?”

“What 3 things just passed by?”

The game supports up to 4 different player profiles so multiple children in the family can play.

16) GazziliMath

GazziliMath is a great choice for children who are just starting to understand how numbers and math covering numerals, counting, addition and subtraction and more. This universal app features 6 engaging, exciting math-based activities that help build the foundation for understanding basic math concepts for little ones!

Gazilli math app


When your child completes each concept/activity, a portion of the ‘GazziliFunPage’ come to life.

GazziliMath also builds hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills as children.

and here’s a bonus app recommendation: Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is a collection of 6 educational games for your preschoolers aged 2 to 5 .

It features 7 different games that teach kids about colors, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences:

1. COLORS. This picky monkey only likes fruit of a certain color, touch only the color they like to pack the lunchbox. Teaches colors, color names, and grouping.

2. MATCHING. Match pairs of fruit hidden behind the cards to pack lunch for this monkey.

3. COUNTING. Count off the fruit the monkey is looking for to fill up the lunchbox. Teaches numbers and counting.

4. LETTERS. This monkey only wants fruit that starts with a certain letter, pick the fruit that starts with that letter. Teaches letters and letter sounds.

5. PUZZLE. This monkey’s fruit broke into pieces!  Put it back together for them. Teaches shapes and pattern recognition.

6. SPOT THE DIFFERENCE.  Help the monkey spot the fruit that looks different, or is a different size. Teaches patterns, bigger, and smaller.

7. SHAPES.  Help the monkey find the fruit in the shapes.

Monkey Preschool lunchbox is a universal game and works on both the iPhone and iPad.

Check out the video below which shows the gameplay on the iPhone:

What are your preschoolers favorite math apps? Tell me in the comments below!

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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!

10 Super Hands-On Pinterest Preschool Math Activities


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Are you on Pinterest? When it comes to websites that suck you in, like Facebook and Houzz, Pinterest is at least filled with great ideas to go along with the beautifully laid out pictures. There are lots of great math activities for preschoolers on Pinterest that can make learning math easy and fun for the younger ones in your household. The best part about the activities below is that they are inexpensive and you can recycle items that you already have on hand.

1. Edible Addition Math – use white icing and chic chips or for a savory alternative try Philadelphia and olives to make these edible dominoes on crackers or toast.

 2. M&M Sorting and GraphingGive your child a bag of M&M’s (Yum Yum!) and a mat for sorting the colors. If the mat is black and white let the children color it first, the mats should be laminated. The kid’s will use the mat to place M&M’s on the correct color. You can assist them in counting the M&Ms as well.


3.   Ice Cube Adding Tray – Grab an ice cube tray, some small items such as buttons, dried beans or sweets and write some addition sums on pieces of paper or card to do with your child.


4.  Lego Math  – Turn a basic Lego set into a math tool with a marker and a little imagination. Making sure to use the same colors for the same steps in the problem use the flat pieces to put the symbols on and the raised pieces as the numbers in the equations.
5.  How Many Lego – Create a number grid and have children sort Lego by color, size or both and count how many.
6. Hopscotch – attach numbers to fabric, and let the kids play hopscotch. It’s that simple. Reuse the fabric number tiles to play number hide and seek.
7.  Milk Cap Math– Save the caps from your milk, soda, water, juice or whatever to use with the activities. Using a range of different colors can allow children to sort them by color. Number the caps, and put them in order beginning with one, look for patterns of color as well or line up tiles under the correct number cap. Grab some dice for some number matching or addition and subtraction practice.

8. Math Bags – Use colored bags to sort objects such as bottle caps, toy cars, sweets or craft supplies by color. Write numbers or sums on the front of the bag to help your child get used to counting out objects.
9. Counting with Beads Write the numbers 1 to 10 on small slips of colored paper or sticky notes. Then wrap numbered paper labels around the end of pipe cleaners. Have your child slide the correct number of beads onto each pipe cleaner.
10. Estimating – Take a jar and place everyday items into it for children to guess the amount. Use edible treats to offer as a prize when they get the right answer.

 Find these and other hands on math ideas on the Maths Insider pinterest board at

For more preschool ideas from check out 24 Short and Sweet Preschool Math Activities here on Maths Insider!

That’s Math – Curious Kids + Involved Parents = Math Confidence

MATHS INSIDERS bloggs (22)

Yet another Math program?

I was approached recently by Bon Crowder and Wil Devine from Math Is Not a Four Letter Word ( to ask if I’d be happy to recommend their new That’s Math! program to Maths Insider readers.

Well, at first I was skeptical… there are hundreds of websites and books that offer solutions to math anxiety, fear and low grades. What would make this any different?

But since I already know Bon’s work on (she’s got a reputation for giving value and providing great content on that website), I figured I’d give them a listen.

They told me that this was NOT just another program for kids. In fact – it’s really for parents!

Bon explained that children can develop math avoidance just like they can develop bug-avoidance – by seeing the reactions of grownups to it. WhatBon and Will have done is create this program to counteract math avoidance just like we would counteract bug-avoidance. Teach ourselves to quit freaking whenever we see a critter with more legs than the family dog!

And since they built it with lots of info from research, I decided to take That’s Math! for a spin to see for myself if it was worth recommending.

That’s Math – An interactive membership site for parents

Right from the start, Bon and Wil impressed me with their ability to lay everything out in a simple step by step manner.

The quick reference cards provide parents with printable sets of questions to help them SEE MATH. They can take these into their own world to SAY MATH or use the provided exercises to practice online anywhere. They can even share their successes with other parents!

At the end of each module they can print out a worksheet and a coloring page to DO MATH with their kids. And there’s even a list of activities!

One of the things that you might struggle with is accepting the thought that changing the way you talk about math can really help your kids. It’s tempting to keep searching for things for them – and ignoring the modeling you might be doing. Remember the bug?


With the That’s Math! program, you’ll be able to see how your positive math talk makes a difference in just a few short weeks.

Real life math for curious parents and kids

The That’s Math! program currently provides:

4 Areas: That’s Math! in the Bathroom, Kitchen, Outdoors & Grocery Store
20 printable Quick Reference Cards
Over 100 questions to help you find math in your world
60 exercises covering 20 items in your world
60 printable activity pages, worksheets, and coloring pages to do with your children
The program is suitable for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Even teachers!

The great thing about this course is that it’s simple – and it’s so easy to see your effort really change your children’s math confidence and engagement, even as a Maths Insider, I found some great math talking points to share with my kids!

I’m happy to recommend this program to anyone who’s serious about improving their child’s lifetime math learning. It’s actually less than $5 to try for the first month, that’s less than 17c a day for unlimited access to the curiosity inducing questions and activities.

So check it out, here’s the link



How Do You Do Numeracy? This Mum Shows How Numeracy is a Piece of Cake


This is a guest post by Nicky Wells, author of the contemporary romantic novel Sophie’s Turn

Numeracy is a Piece of Cake

…or a piece of fruit, as the case may be.  Getting young children to practice their numeracy at home can be a real challenge.  Making it fun can seem impossible.  Yet, I’m discovering with the help of my own two boys (in Year 2 and Reception respectively), if you take their lead… and are willing to improvise on the hop… supporting their numeracy learning can be a piece of cake.  Or fruit, as it were.

Breakfast maths

Creative Commons License photo credit: malias

I recently retrained as a teaching assistant, taking a course with the Open University called Supporting Learning in Primary Schools.  One of the most valuable insights and practices I gained from this course was using play, in whichever way possible, as an avenue for my children’s learning.  So, for example, this morning… Over breakfast, my six year-old idly asked me, “Mum, what’s a percentage?”  Initially I nearly missed the opportunity.  I was too busy thinking about the day ahead, and I hadn’t realised what he was asking me.  Then I noticed that he was reading the back of his smoothie packaging, and he was obviously intrigued by the numbers and the pictures.

 Percentages with fruit

Miniature Food Fruit Prep'Board #2
Creative Commons License photo credit: PetitPlat – Stephanie Kilgast

“Right,” I said.  “Percentage.  Well, that means something like ‘parts per hundred’.”  Oh dear God, how to go on?  A light-bulb went on in my head, and I had a carpe-diem type moment.  Inspired by the source of his question, I grabbed all the fruit out of the fruit bowl and lined it up on the table.  I had my four year old count it for us, to get him involved, too.  We had eight apples, one banana and one horse chestnut (well, I needed ten units of some description, didn’t I?).  Moreover, the apples fell into two categories:  three red ones, and five green ones.

So far, so good.  We did a little bit of counting in tens, whereby each piece of fruit represented ten.  You get the idea… I was building up to ‘parts in a hundred.’  When I was certain that they had grasped that the collection of fruit together represented 100, with each piece standing for ten, we tackled the percentages.  I touched an apple and said, “How much is this again?”  My four year old immediately came in:  “Ten.”

Great!  “So, this is ten out of a hundred.  We call that ten per cent.”  Enter the six year old.  “So… this apple is also ten per cent… and this one… and the banana?”  I nodded.  “And the chestnut?”  Nod again.

 A trick question

Question mark
Creative Commons License photo credit: the Italian voice

Sound easy?  It was.  It really was!  Then came the trick question:  “How much of this collection of fruit is apple?  In other words, what percentage do the apples represent here?”  Short moment of reflection, then my six year-old started counting the apples again (in tens), quickly joined by my four year old:  “… sixty, seventy, eighty.  Eighty per cent, Mum!”  I kid you not!  This is exactly what happened.

Ok, let’s extend their learning further.  “Take a look at the apples.  What percentage (of all of the fruit) is green?”  More counting, then the quick answer:  Thirty per cent.  And so on.  At the end, when I asked my six year-old what a percentage was, he said ‘parts per hundred.’  That’s probably not the text book definition, but it works for us, for now.  Last but not least, we looked again at the smoothie packaging.  Thinking back to what he’d just learned, my six year old quickly worked out that, had the smoothie been made from 100 pieces of fruit, 36 of them would have been bananas (36 per cent), 33 of them apples (33 per cent), and so on.  What a great way to start the day!

 Carrot stick maths

Carrot and stick
Creative Commons License photo credit: bthomso

Bizarrely, we ended the day in a similar manner.  My six year-old again, over dinner:  “What’s the difference between a half and a quarter?”  This time, I was a little quicker off the mark by way of a playful explanation.  We had one enormous carrot stick left over, so I encouraged him to cut that in half.  So, half is two equal bits.  Now, cut the halves into half again.  Oh… ok.  We end up with four pieces, or quarters.  Two quarters make a half, and two halves make a whole, or one.

Once again, this may sound incredible, but it was so obvious to him, sitting there, with his knife, making halves, quarters and, eventually, eighths.  (It really was a long carrot stick!).  We talked about what happened every time you halved… namely, that the ‘fraction number’ (again, not a technically correct term but it served the purpose for today) doubled.  He checked and double-checked that a few times, re-configuring the carrot stick and taking it to bits again.

Will he remember his fractions tomorrow?  I don’t know.  But he will remember working them out with a carrot stick, and that may well give him a bridge into learning fractions when he needs it.

Super maths mum

Flash Point
Creative Commons License photo credit: JD Hancock

Now, you wonder, does this woman do numeracy at the dinner table every day?  Of course not.  But what I’m trying to share is the insight that children are curious about numeracy at times and in ways that we least expect.  And when that happens, it doesn’t take much to create a learning experience ‘on the hop’ that answers their question, embeds their learning and makes you… well, feel like a super-mum, frankly.
Nicky Wells is a mum of two primary-school age children.  She lives in Bristol (UK) withher family and works as a teaching assistant for the German Saturday School in Bristol.  She also performs voluntary teaching assistant work at a local primary school.  Moreover, Nicky is a writer and independent publisher.  Her contemporary romantic debut novel, Sophie’s Turn, is available in Kindle edition from and

 You can visit Nicky at her blog at, and you can find Nicky on Twitter or follow Nicky on Facebook.

24 Short and Sweet Preschool Maths Activities.


Do you ever have the problem of, having found great maths activities for your little one, not being able to remember any of them when that magic moment happens,when they are happy, calm and ready for an activity?

I was inspired by this great calendar of maths activities from Anne’s Teaching Two blog, to create a list of short and sweet preschool maths activities. Put them in a calendar like Anne has or just print off the list and put on your fridge!

24 Preschool Maths Activities

1. Muffin tin mathsNurture Store has a tasty maths activity, counting out chocolate chips into a muffin tin labelled with numbers.

2. I-spy Shapes – Play this traditional game but look for”…something shaped like a ….circle”

3. Shoe cupboard tidying – Tidying and sorting shoes is the perfect maths activity for a clutter free entrance hall.

4. Table laying – Arranging cutlery on the table is another useful maths activity for developing sorting skills

5.Watch a Sesame Street counting video online – The Sesame Street website has lots of short maths videos, many including my favourite, The Count!

6. Sandwich Making – When making a sandwich for your preschooler, ask them to help you cut it into halves or quarters (or even eighths!)

7. Bring me 5 – Choose a number, such as 5, then ask your little one to bring you 5 cars, 5 books, 5 blocks or 5 of anything they can easily carry!

8. Time announcing – Start by announcing the time when you see it’s at the hour, “It’s 3 o’clock!”

9. Hopscotch – Even preschoolers will enjoy helping to draw a hopscotch grid and then hop from number to number, forwards then backwards.

10. Number Hunting – Draw a number 4 on a piece of A4 paper, then hide the number behind a cushion (but not completely hidden). Help your toddler hunt for Number 4.

11. Play a colours and shapes online game Oscar’s Trash Collection – This time use the Sesame Street website to play online maths games.

12. Draw around bowls – Grab a blank piece of paper and help your little one draw around upturned bowls to create a circle picture.

13. Play dough numbers – Roll out play dough snakes with your toddler, then form into numbers.


14. Number chart counting – Put up a number chart and let your child be a preschool maths teacher.

15. Which is heavier –  take 2 objects, hand them to your toddler and ask, “Which is heavier!”

16. Play a matching game online animal parade – Each of my 3 older children have sat at the computer and played this cute animal matching game from the BBC Website.

17. I spy colours – Play this traditional game but look for”…something …!”

18. Odd one out – Lay out 3 objects, 2 similar and 1 different and ask “Which is the odd one out!”

19. M&M patterns – Another tasty maths activity, again from Teaching Two. Create a pattern sequence using M&M’s, then colour in each part to match the pattern.

20. Sing  a maths song  – Ten in a bed is my favourite but here’s a great list of numberful rhymes

21. Sock matching – Another tidying and sorting activity.

22. Cutlery drawer  sorting – Yet another sorting activity, this will keep the cutlery drawer nicely organised.

23. Swing counting – Count aloud as you swing your preschooler at the park. When it’s time to get off the swing count down from 10 to 1.

24. Sticker Sorting – Shannon at  Tot school shows how stickers can be used for a lovely maths activity. Take a sheet of stickers, a blank sheet of paper and sort into groups.

Share your short, sweet preschool maths activities in the comments below!

This post also features in Works for me Wednesdays.

For more great preschool math resources check out the following posts:

The 16 Best iPhone and iPad Math Apps for Preschoolers

11 Best Math Learning Toys For Preschoolers

The Preschool Maths Teacher


Hello parents, I am Sue* and I’m 3 years old and I will be your preschool maths teacher for today.

On my wall I have a 1 – 100 preschool maths number chart, like this one:  Number Chart 1-100

I’m going to watch you point and call out each number in order, so I can learn which direction the numbers go on the chart.

I’m then going to point at each number in the same order using my finger, a lego,block, a car or another suitable object from my preschool maths teacher kit.

You, my dear parent and humble student will call out the name of each number as I point to it, so that I can check you know your numbers.

It is likely that for the first few times I will only test you on the first 10 or so numbers, but in the weeks and months to come I will make sure to test you on all the numbers up to 100!

I will not necessarily test you daily, sometimes I will test you and anyone else nearby whenever I am near my poster, and sometimes I will leave you for several days without testing, but I will study the poster as often as I can in order to make sure I catch any mistakes you make during our lesson!

Don’t be scared, this preschool maths teacher will teach you your numbers form 1 to 100 in no time!

Now let’s begin!

*based on a true story, names have been changed!

What has your preschool maths teacher taught you?