Preschool Math at Home by Kate Snow

Hands-down, this book is the best resource I've come across to build a preschooler's foundation in mathematics.

Best of all, it's all achieved through play - your little one will have the best time engaging in all of these simple activities with you!

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I received a free copy of this product from the author (after gushing about the book in another post).  All opinions are my own.

A couple of months ago, my monthly post over on Pam Barnhill's site focused on 5 Easy Ways to Incorporate Preschool Math Into Your Days.

If you have kids aged preschool or younger at home, be sure to pop on over and check it out if you haven't already.

And if you've already read it, then you probably remember my mention of a fantastic little book titled Preschool Math at Home that I shared as a fabulous resource for "playing" math.

This book is seriously one that I can't stop gushing about in person, so of course that meant I had to tell you all more about it, as well.

We're certainly not strangers to teaching math around here - I did it for a decade in my first and second-grade classrooms and G continues to live it every day as he teaches AP Calculus and other math classes at a local high school.

So we've got math tools, strategies and manipulatives coming out of our ying-yangs around here - but despite all that, I am still so happy to have this book for Gv's preschool years!

This bright little book is manageable, but mighty!

I mean, I know what she needs to learn, and I also know plenty of fun ways to teach those concepts, but this book absolutely bursts with ideas on how to lay a truly strong foundation in basic, foundational skills that are all centered around play.

And isn't that what the preschool (& early Elementary years) should be about? Learning by playing?

The first time I encountered this book (through quite a long - but worth it - interlibrary-loan journey!), I grew more and more excited about it just reading the preface.

In it, Kate explains the path she and her then-preschool son traveled when looking for a preschool math curriculum.

She observed that he quickly and easily grasped new concepts and she wanted him to learn about numbers and the language of math with as much interest and excitement as he learned about the rest of the world, not from being stuck in a chair filling out worksheets.

Since she couldn't find the high-quality, developmentally-appropriate curriculum she desired and since she also had her own worthy background in math and teaching, she decided to create her own program.

This book is the result of her work and is composed of the simple, straightforward (and fun!) activities that she used with her own kids.

You'll appreciate Kate's notes throughout the book that help you understand the reasoning behind the activities. She explains the skills developed, why they're sequenced in their particular order and how each one will help lay a strong mathematical foundation for your child.

Kate focuses on five key skills in this book:

  1. Counting
  2. Subitizing (this is a huge focus in early-elementary classrooms these days!)
  3. Numeral Recognition
  4. Number Comparisons
  5. Part/Part/Whole Relationships (find a further explanation of this and a fun activity in my Ladybug Girl Addition Bugs post here)
Chapters are broken down to cover numbers 0-5 and 6-10 for the first two skills (Baby steps! No need to rush these concepts!) and an appendix is included with perforated pages so that you can just tear out the resources and put them to use!

Each activity is clearly organized so that you can see its purpose, the materials needed and the directions at a glance. There are also many illustrations which contribute to your understanding of everything - particularly helpful if you're one of the bazillion parents out there who feel uncomfortable with math or one who wants this learning time to be as painless as possible.

There are teachers who are dead-set against using fingers as math aids, but I am not one of them, and I'm so happy to see that Kate's not, either!

Each chapter concludes with an "Is My Child Ready to Move On?" section in which Kate stresses the importance of working through these skills deliberately and "hanging out" at one activity until your child has completely mastered it. 

Don't worry, your little mathlete won't mind - it's nothing like facing dozens of worksheet problems to complete, because in this book, it's all about play!

She reviews the most important things you should look for in order to continue on in your journey through this book, so that you can feel confident with your decision to move forward.

I wish I could share all the amazing activities from this book with you, but I'm hoping you go ahead and grab your own copy instead, because this really is one of those books that you'll want to own and not just borrow (even if your library actually has it, unlike mine!)

Gv and I haven't encountered a "dud" yet, but our favorite activities have included a stuffed animal tea party, "I Spy" numbers game and creating a set of count pictures that were way more challenging than you'd expect (seriously, we spent weeks sitting at that stage, but wow, all that time repeating the exercise until Gv really got it has paid off, big time!)

I love how even though the illustrations are simple and drawn in black and white, they are completely effective!

Even though I've got "real" math manipulatives coming out the wazoo, we've still had fun grabbing things from Gv's room like dolls, stuffed animals, toy cars, stickers and food to use in our play.

Even toys can be math tools!

You'll want to check this book out when your child begins to show an interest in basic math concepts like counting, most likely around age three or so.

The glossy, bright cover will immediately give you confidence in its worth and although it is chock-full of great activities, its sleek 100 pages mean that you won't feel overwhelmed by it all.

You can get a copy of the book here and begin laying your own wonderful math foundation with your child through play.

And if you're looking for some other posts on helping your child grasp math concepts, check out some of my other posts:

I love a lot of books for children, but in case you couldn't tell, this one is definitely at the top of my list! Are you excited to check it out for yourself?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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