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nellydib

Math for a 3 year old

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My 3 year old loves numbers and shapes. He's always counting things. He has learned to recognise the numbers up to 5 without any direct instruction. He's always seeing shapes everywhere and trying to create them. The first time I gave him Mighty Mind, he did the first 14 cards in one sitting. What can I do to develop this interest? 
I don't want to introduce workbooks because he's awful with a pencil and can't draw a circle or straight line to save his life. He loves books, so I'm hoping to find books that talk about numbers and shapes in a way that isn't too childish and doesn't distract with busy stories and graphics (nothing like "the greedy triangle"). Something that will deepen his understanding of numbers and shapes and their relations, or activities of the same sort. What would you recommend?

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You might want to take a look at Right Start A.  Also, it is never necessary for a child to write in a workbook--just use a whiteboard and *you* write for him.  There were several years where I gave my son the choice about who would write.  Actually, when we work on calculus together, I *still* sometimes write.

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I second Right Start level A, with the caveat that you use 1st edition A for this age and ability.  (1st edition A is more gentle than 2nd edition A.)  The few worksheets can easily be skipped and you can do the lesson activities as little games wherever they fit throughout the day without making it a formal lesson.

 

The McGrath Math Teddy Bear series is good, as are the books in the MathStart series.  We've only done a couple from Scholastic Math Readers, but what we've seen was well done.

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Kitchen Table Math has tons of good ideas and advice for learning in a hands-on way. The book itself looks kind of low budget/self published, but the ideas and activities are great.

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I second Right Start level A, with the caveat that you use 1st edition A for this age and ability.  (1st edition A is more gentle than 2nd edition A.)  The few worksheets can easily be skipped and you can do the lesson activities as little games wherever they fit throughout the day without making it a formal lesson.

 

The McGrath Math Teddy Bear series is good, as are the books in the MathStart series.  We've only done a couple from Scholastic Math Readers, but what we've seen was well done.

 

 

You might want to take a look at Right Start A.  Also, it is never necessary for a child to write in a workbook--just use a whiteboard and *you* write for him.  There were several years where I gave my son the choice about who would write.  Actually, when we work on calculus together, I *still* sometimes write.

 

Did you buy the whole bundle for Right Start A? It's very expensive. How long does it normally take to finish level A? And can I get buy with just the book and abacus?

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Did you buy the whole bundle for Right Start A? It's very expensive. How long does it normally take to finish level A? And can I get buy with just the book and abacus?

 

I bought 1st edition level A as a "starter kit," which is much less expensive than 2nd edition level A with the whole "math set."  If you do that, you could continue in 1st edition with yearly "add-on kits" or switch to 2nd edition with a "bridge math set."  Either option would spread the cost out over multiple years and bring the upfront investment way down.  

 

You would miss out on a lot of the activities without most of the manipulatives.  The most heavily used items in the lower levels are the abacus, tally sticks (craft/popsicle sticks), 1" square colored tiles, place value cards, base-ten picture cards, and the card games kit (mostly just the "basic" card deck.  In 1st edition the game play is all explained in the lessons so you don't really need the card game book unless you want to branch out or want ideas for variations.).

 

Level A is supposed to be a school year long program for 5-6 year olds.  Starting with a 3yo it could very well take longer, maybe a year and a half to two years.  Or, maybe not.  Like any other math program, how quickly they progress depends very much on the kid.

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If your goal is to foster and develop number sense/mathy thinking, I'd switch from books to playing games. Connect 4, checkers, chess, Set, mancala, blackjack. 

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Did you buy the whole bundle for Right Start A? It's very expensive. How long does it normally take to finish level A? And can I get buy with just the book and abacus?

 

We didn't use A--just B.  It took us maybe 6 months to go through 3/4 of the program, but my son was 6 at the time.  I would expect that it would take longer (possibly much longer) for a younger child, but I don't really know.

 

I would not use just an abacus with a 3yo.  Actually, I probably wouldn't use an abacus at all with such a young child.  It is one of the more abstract manipulatives out there.  The great thing about RS is that all the manipulatives and games work together to make a rich experience for young children.  

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Mathematics Made Meaningful. (not to be confused with Making Math Meaningful). It uses Cuisennaire rods to teach concepts, but it just feels like playing. :-) You start with dumping all the rods on the table and separating them according to color; then you mess them up and separate them according to size. Hey! Same piles! :-) And it goes on from there. Eventually you could introduce the Miquon books.

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I second the suggestion to play games. Also, puzzles, tangrams, pattern blocks, geoboard, etc.

 

There is also an out of print (but easy to find) series of math books by Time Life Books called I Love Math. Each book has stories, games, puzzles, etc focused on a theme (sports, nature, etc).

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My 3 year old loves numbers and shapes. He's always counting things. He has learned to recognise the numbers up to 5 without any direct instruction. He's always seeing shapes everywhere and trying to create them. The first time I gave him Mighty Mind, he did the first 14 cards in one sitting. What can I do to develop this interest? 

 

Natural math skills - cooking and baking with him (so you're counting and measuring), playing simple puzzles, encouraging him to subitize small amounts (perhaps playing games where he sees a small number of items and has to tell you how many there are without counting), playing games that involve patterns (maybe you line things up, or if you're on the bus you can do a simple slap-clap pattern that he copies), playing games that involve sorting items (say, sorting buttons by size, then by shape, then by color), making simple collages using shapes of construction paper, telling "math stories" where simple addition or subtraction is integrated into the story. As he gets older, you can also play games like mancala, shut the box, and go fish where you make tens instead of pairs.

 

And there's always Bedtime Math.

 

 

I don't want to introduce workbooks because he's awful with a pencil and can't draw a circle or straight line to save his life.

 

 

He's not "awful", this is normal for three year olds!

 

There are a number of activities that you can use to improve his pre-writing skills. You can get him lacing beads and cards. You can have him do work using tweezers and clothespins. You can have him practice "painting" with q-tips. You can have him use very small pencils - golf pencils! - and crayons. (Or crayon rocks.) You can have him carefully rip up construction paper or tissue paper. You can have him roll that tissue paper into balls for more collages. You can have him play with playdough, especially making snakes and things out of snakes. You can have him use scissors to cut (remember, if he cuts using his left hand, you need to get left-handed scissors! There is no such thing as lefty-righty scissors! Those are just righty scissors with funny handles!) You can teach him how to make "worms" using straw wrappers and little drips of soda, but that's addictive.

 

All these things help develop the tripod grip and build hand strength. And of course, you can see how these activities can be incorporated with the math activities. For example, he can cut out those shapes if you draw them for him on construction paper. If he's sorting jelly beans, say, he can pick them up using tweezers (and then eat them!). You can get large clothespins, write numbers on them, and have him use them to clip pieces of cardboard with the correct number of dots or trucks or whatever.

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I like Rightstart too.

 

You could look at the book Moebius Noodles, it might have some ideas for you.

 

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Tapatalk

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My DD4 loves Bedtime Math. We sometimes do Ray's Arithmetic, done orally, just like 5 problems. We also use Count, Add & Sub Music CD. We use her number cards and she watches Number Blocks and Number Jacks on YouTube.

 

These things are not all done on the same day. At this age it's whatever one she is interested in at the time.

Edited by Mommyof1

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