You may read to your child before bed every night, but have you ever thought about playing with math problems before bed? Laura Bilodeau Overdeck has created Bedtime Math, which uses current events and everyday occurrences to make math fun and relevant to your life. “Our mission is simple: to make math a fun, natural part of kids’ everyday lives, just like the bedtime story,” writes Overdeck. The questions are not a “test.” The goal is to have an entertaining conversation as your child comes up with an answer. Each day’s entry includes a paragraph of information followed by math exercises for three different age groups: preschool, K-2nd grade and 2nd grade and up. The February 3 entry offers math problems based on the Super Bowl. The February 4 entry explains why a skunk smells bad and presents a recipe for creating a mixture that smells like a skunk’s spray. The website includes a parents’ guide and links to news articles on the importance of math in our lives.
Now, I should probably state here that I personally enjoyed math as a kid. I think of math problems as fun puzzles, but it never occurred to me to work math puzzles with my kids. I like the idea of playing with numbers before bed. Why not visit Bedtime Math and discover how much fun math can be? And of course, for more fun with numbers, you can check out some math-themed books for kids from your friendly neighborhood library!
I’m a big fan of author and illustrator Patricia Polacco, so I was thrilled to see she has a new book, “The Art of Miss Chew.” The story is based on a real person who made an impact on her life: “Violet Chew not only taught me how to see, but how to perceive, evaluate, and appreciate the beauty of art.”
Patricia brings her signature style to another moving autobiographical work. Patricia has a learning disability that she wrote about in an earlier book, “Thank You, Mr. Falker,” and she addresses it in this new work as well. She was fortunate to have been educated by several caring, nurturing teachers who tried to bring out the best in their students. In her tribute to Miss Chew, she expresses how important art was in her life. I recommend this book for ages 5 and up. Continue reading
Looking for a rhyme that’s fun for your preschool child and your baby? “The Grand Old Duke of York” works for all ages. When you lift the baby up and down, she adds these concepts to her vocabulary. Moving with the rhyme allows your preschooler to work on his gross motor skills. Change the speed and see how fast or slow you can move up and down. Be prepared for plenty of giggles.
The Grand Old Duke of York
The Grand Old Duke of York,
He had ten thousand men.
He marched them up to the top of the hill,
And he marched them down again.
And when you’re up, you’re up,
And when you’re down, you’re down.
And when you’re only halfway up,
You’re neither up nor down. Continue reading
Editor’s note: Many children experience the “summer slide,” losing important educational skills during the summer months. Parents can help fight the summer slide by encouraging reading in the summertime.
Do you think the words “fun” and “math” go together? You will when you read “Eat Your Math Homework” by Ann McCallum. You can have fun in the kitchen and explore math concepts at the same time. This book will introduce the whole family to the Fibonacci sequence, fractions, tessellations, tangrams, pi and probability while enjoying fruit, tortilla chips, brownies, pizza and trail mix.
I’m not a big fan of the illustrations in this book, but I enjoyed the explanations of the topics and the recipes. I recommend this for all families with children ages 7 and older.
My youngest son was 16 when I quit reading to him. Before that, if we had a quiet evening when we were both home (which wasn’t often) he’d ask, “Mom, have you got anything you could read to me?” It was a good way for us to spend quality time together in a stress-free way.
My husband loved listening to many of the books I read to the kids—the Harry Potter books and the Enchanted Forest Chronicles in particular. Sharing books gives you a shared point of reference. Even now one of us can make a comment about Cimorene and we all know who is being talked about. (She is a princess in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles who wanted to “Do Things” but wasn’t allowed to because “princesses don’t do that.”)
Even when your children can read by themselves, family read-aloud time is a good alternative to watching TV. Children of all ages need to hear books read aloud. Children can hear and understand words before they can read those words themselves. Continue reading