Theoretically, yes, doing math sounds like an awesome excuse to stay up late with my kids. Practically speaking, how can I make that happen for my 4-year-old? With some help of course.
We came across Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck at the library this week and my daughter LOVES it. I love it too. Every night, we read a few math stories at bed time. In the morning she asks to read the book during breakfast. Instead of clanging spoons, spilling milk, and driving me crazy before packing up for preschool, we translate fun math stories into addition and subtraction problems and count fingers. #joyfulparentingmoment
Why we love this book:
Fun topics: Swimming with penguins on one page, flying helicopters on the next. Every page has a new topic. Math is fun when you're learning trivia about jungle creatures and cool machines.
- Perfect serving size: 1-pagers. Each page has a new math story that leads to a math problem. Grab your kids' attention with a great story (not too short, not too long), then work on a related math problem. This a perfectly digestible serving size to keep your kids' challenged and asking for more. My 4-year-old really does ask for more.
- Challenging for all ages: Overdeck makes this book accessible to a wide range of ages. For each story, there are math problems for 3 challenge levels: Wee Ones, Little Kids, and Big Kids. Ella is 4 and we read the "Wee Ones" math problems, which introduce addition and subtraction. Big Kids get to do multiplication!
The book's introduction was equally as fun to read as the math stories themselves. Bedtime Math sprouted from a real, math-loving mom, telling math stories to her own kids at bedtime. She started sharing one story a day with a neighborhood email group, and the idea blew up into kids and parents asking for more.
More good reads
We'll be sharing more of our favorite books here on our blog. We know that great books can be hard to find. Sometimes you need a fresh recommendation from parents, just like you, who have been filtering through piles and piles of books with their kids. And with all the head clutter, it's surprisingly easy to forget your favorites. So, when it comes to birthday gifts or shopping for your own kids, check back here to jog your memory for a few good reads.
Reading rules: Just so we're on the same page, here are some similarities in the books we tend to love.
- Good storytelling: We like authors who write for the enjoyment of kids AND adults alike.
- Sparks creativity and conversation: We love to be able to talk to our kids about the story, and branch out to related ideas after we read.
- Positive modeling: We like characters that are (or learn to be) kind, creative, hardworking, polite, etc.
- We do not like books with grammar or punctuation errors.
- We steer away from books with licensed characters.
- We do not like books that are annoying (subject to individual interpretation).
- Educational value, a huge plus! We love a good [biography, history, math, science] book if it meets the criteria above. Remember, we have young kids, so text-book style learning isn't going to cut it.