Cool Math Games

Design it, Build it, Control it

Cool Math Tools for YOUR Kids


Finding the right cool Math toy has as many characteristics as finding any right toy. There are several considerations that every parent needs to think about.

Age Appropriate

First and foremost, the most important aspect of any toy is that it is suitable for your child. Usually, the manufacturer’s recommendation for age levels is very helpful.

Providing lego, that is too small for a toddler to handle will only frustrate the child as they will not be able to manipulate the pieces to build anything. And if the toy is far too simple for the age group, it will gather dust on the shelf.

Interesting

How do you know that your child will be interested in the toy? Look at customer reviews of the toy for recommendations. Do not rely on what is popular as that sort of interest is usually built on advertising. Ask or observe your child to determine their interests. Ask the daycare teacher or school-teacher to gather information about fascinating subjects. 

Adult Involvement

Photo by stem.T4L on Unsplash

You may need to spend some time initially with sharing the toy with your child to show the possibilities or to explain how to use the different parts or how to follow the instructions, but with cool toys, in a short time, engagement will take over.

Don’t be offended if your child starts to ignore you and your suggestions. They are building independence. Celebrate this positive step.

Open-Ended

That is a term that means the toy has many possibilities. It can be related to many different themes from jungle animals to castles to fantastic landscapes to science fiction. 

Can Be Expanded

This can be closely related to open-ended. Often the best toys are ones that can be transformed as more additional parts are added. 

School-Based or General Mathematical Concepts

Some parents want a toy that is specific to a particular need, such as learning how to divide or easy algebra problems. As such, they want an activity to support what their child is being taught in school. Many excellent online activities support this type of learning. Other parents are interested in immersing their children in mathematical problem situations. A variety of toys can satisfy this dilemma.

The Best Cool Math Toys

Cool Math toys do not look like math practice. You can purchase many different types of toys and games to drill the facts, but it is another thing to find toys and games that use math as an integral part of the activity or game.

Board Games

The time tested Snakes and Ladders reinforces the numbers to 100. Kids also need to move in the correct direction to advance on the board. This large version is great for young kids who may have trouble controlling the jumps on a smaller board.

Lego

One of the most popular cool math toys is lego. Wait a minute you might protest, there is no math in lego!  It is only a construction toy. You would be wrong. 

Comparison of Distance: For a young child, you will often find them building towers. Sometimes there is a race to build the tallest tower. When they start comparing the structures, they will count the number of blocks high. A child who has built a tower that is 13 blocks high is taller than a child who has built a tower of 12 blocks high. Since the lego material is scaled perfectly to fit together, just using it teaches a child about measurement. It is even possible to use the large toddler block along-side a set of lego for a much older child. 

Ratio and Fractions: Each of the building blocks relates to the other. Consider a block that has 2 connectors. You can place two of the 2-connector blocks on another block that has 4-connecters to fill in the space completely. It takes two of the 2-connector blocks to fill a 4-connector space. In another viewpoint, you could consider that the 2-connector block half fills the 4-connector block space. 

You could see this a simple puzzle piece connection or realize that these blocks are all in ratio. The 2-block connectors also fit on another block with 6-connectors as a ration of 2 to 6. It takes three of the 2-connector blocks to fill the 6-connector block. This can also be viewed as the 6-connector block is 1/3 full by placing a 2-connector block on it. So, while your child is building his fantasy building or structure, they are experiencing ratio and fractions in a practical situation. 

These 2 circumstances are merely examples of how lego immerses children in a mathematical environment.

There are Lego kits that are very complicated and ones that are simple.

This kit emphasizes the child’s creativity and the value of friendship.

Robotics

Any toy that is built for movement through a set of commands develops many mathematical concepts, from measurement to spatial relationships to sequential thinking.  MIND Designer Robot is such a kit that cultivates mathematical thinking as well as building computer skills. Another motivational kit is Makeblock mBot Robot Kit. It comes with some exciting challenges.

Kids can follow the instructions in these kits to learn about the required concepts, or they dream up their own challenges. As long as children are not using a joystick to control the robot, they will be immersed into mathematical thinking to make the robot move. This is a great foundation for an introduction to thinking like a programmer.

There are instructions for building this robot. But once it is complete the fun begins as children can program the robot to move and draw shapes. The potential for mathematical thinking is tremendous.

Puzzles

Shape puzzles such as Tangrams, Tetras, and Fracticles 7 puzzles build thinking in flips, slides, and turns (reflections, transitions, and rotations) and can be highly motivating to many children. 

Travel tangrams are a challenging set of puzzles that are portable. The magnets hold the pieces in place while your child is solving puzzles in the back seat of your car.

Number puzzles or fact puzzles are automatically self-correcting as the puzzle pieces do not fit unless the correct mathematical fact is matched. This can be engaging for some children, but it is not inherently a mathematical activity. It is more of a drill and kill type of activity.

Some children may need repetition to learn the number facts and this kit comes with many strategies for teaching.

Think of math in the light of a tool that solves problems. Often the nature of the material demands mathematical thinking.

Toys that Teach Life Skills

Kids are enthralled with learning activities in which adults engage. So how better to understand money than through a pretend store with a kid-sized cash register. This math activity will require several kids to co-operate together to complete the simulation. Built into the experience are many different numerical skills required during the purchasing of the various products.

This is a teaching cash register that is available in US and Canadian versions. There are many different calculations that are needed to run a store.

Life Skill: Kids are enthralled with learning activities in which adults engage. So how better to understand money than through a pretend store with a kid-sized cash register. This math activity will require several kids to co-operate together to complete the simulation. Built into the experience are many different numerical skills required during purchasing of the various products

Be Leary of these Cool Math Toys

STEM

Yes, the acronym stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but it is a term that is applied to many different types of toys to entice parents to purchase a wide variety of experiences. You can filter your toy search with this term but then make your own decision about whether the toy is engaging for your child. Without this factor, you will be purchasing a dust collector.

Too Many Instructions

Too many instructions can lead to frustration that will shut down involvement with an activity. Make sure the toy is suitable for the age group.

Frustrated child with head on their arms due to too many instructions while playing with a toy. The best toys need to suit the age level.

Yes, some kids like to follow instructions step by step, but they are not in the majority. Most kids want to experiment, be creative, and follow their own whims. So, simplicity of use with only a minimum of explanations is very encouraging for children.

Drill and Kill

Some parents may feel that their child needs to spend more time practicing basic mathematical concepts. Indeed, learning the facts is to mathematics the same as learning the alphabetical letters for reading. But the presentation of the facts is vital to be classified as a toy. If you search for Mathematics toys on a toy website, what you often find are drill and kill activities. These materials are suitable for specific purposes, but it is hard to classify them as toys. Many of online experiences do a far more intriguing job of helping kids learn better math skills.

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Armed with this information, you will be well prepared to search for a toy that can enhance your child’s understanding of the mathematical world. See 10 Cool Math Games: for learning math

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