Earlier this week, I shared a post on ways to increase kids’ confidence in math. One part of this is taking the dread and anxiety out of math by incporatinh it it into everyday life activities. Eventually, kids will regard math as normal and not something to be intimidated by. Another way is to make math fun and imaginative. One way we do this is by looking for ways to “play” with math.
To that point, today I’m sharing some of my all-time favorite math games, toys and books from preschool to middle school. With the exception of one or two things on the list, we actually own and use all of these play things with our own two kids.
Why the hell do you have so many math toys you ask?! Fair question. While we try not to have too many toys in general, admittedly, I’m a sucker for educational toys, especially STEAM toys and books. So on holidays and their birthdays, that’s pretty much what my kids get for presents.
Let’s not forget Magnatiles, one of our favorite STEM toys – EVER. I could write a novel on how much fun we have with these magnetic blocks, but really, the cool thing to see is how much creativity kids demonstrate with them. At the same time, they’re learning patterns, shapes and geometry. You can use them for counting and measuring exercises too (for example, the table is 23 Magnatiles long!).
To be clear, though, I don’t think that these toys (or any others for that matter) have made our kids any “smarter” or “better” in math. Rather, they keep our family engaged in a mathematical mindset which is important to us. They are simply learning props and it takes us actively engaging with them to see a difference.
Do you have a favorite way to “play” with math? A favorite math game or book? I’d love to hear in the comments below or over on Instagram @ohwunderkind.