Book Review, Math and Numbers, STEM Resources

Reading ‘STEMs’ Learning – Danica McKellar Book Review

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Image result for winnie cooper
Photo courtesy The Wall Street Journal

Who remembers Winnie Cooper from the show ‘The Wonder Years’? The actress, known as Danica McKellar, is now (among other roles) an acclaimed mathematics author. She received her bachelors degree in mathematics at UCLA and is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) advocate.

In an interview with USA Today, Ms. McKellar stated that, “I was a total STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) kid from the time I was born. I can’t ever remember a time that I didn’t want to not only learn, but be challenged. I think that’s why I love math; it challenges my brain.”

In many of her books it seems that she specifically targets young girls as her audience. In interviews I’ve read, she said she didn’t feel she ‘looked the part’ of a typical math student and wants to change that perception for the future generations.

We personally own three of her math picture books in our home – all I will review below. Again, I’ll suggest either to BUY IT, BORROW IT or SKIP IT.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS – BUY IT!

This book is a New York Times Best Seller and it is probably my favorite of the three that we have. Most of the reading in our house happens at bedtime, so this book naturally fits in with the bedtime theme. This book is intended for toddlers and preschoolers.

The rhymes in this book are appealing and unique. The story follows a toddler and adult through various areas of the home counting and getting ready for bed. There a multiple examples in the illustrations on each page of the represented number and the lessons are also relatable to everyday situations like, there are 7 days in a whole week.

At the end of the book, there is a letter from the author to parents. She provides other great ideas and examples of easy ways to introduce counting and numbers to young children and suggestions on how to read the book to your child. We read this book so often, that I would recommend buying it for your preschooler or soon to be preschooler. You won’t be disappointed.

TEN MAGIC BUTTERFLIES BUY IT!

If you have a child that loves fairies and enchanted stories, this picture book is perfect. First off, the illustrations in this book are beautiful. Again, McKellar sneaks in counting, addition and subtraction in an innovative and fun way to keep your child’s attention with rhymes and images. This is also a great bedtime book, as it ends with ‘sleep tight’!

This book is a wonderful introduction to math because it starts with low numbers (only up to ten). My daughter learned all the various combinations of numbers that add up to 10 and she’s pretty good for her age at completing simple math problems. She also views math as fun! I credit books like this for that! This book is a definite buy in my opinion, especially for young girls.

BATHTIME MATHTIMEBUY IT OR BORROW IT!

I struggled with my suggestion to buy or borrow this book. While I like the innovative spirit of this book, I personally enjoyed the first two stories above more than this one. BUT, if you have a child with a short attention span, I do think that this book would be better choice than the first two above. It is a very short book.

This book is based on a young boy in the bath tub and all the ways in which the family counts during his bath time ritual. It’s illustrations include actual math calculations which help your child get familiar with them. My suggestion would be to borrow this book first, then make a decision on if it is worth the purchase for your child.

Have you read or own any of these books? What are you thoughts and opinions of these stories?

Did you know that Danica McKellar was a math author? What other Danica McKellar math books do you own? Would you recommend them?

Do you have any other books you’d like me to review? Let me know at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Check out my other STEM book reviews here!

Inexpensive and Versatile, Math and Numbers, STEM Resources, STEM toys

Learning numbers and early math…

When I think of STEM fundamentals, counting and number recognition tops the list!  Think about all the times you use numbers during the day.  I can think of plenty – telling time, date, year, counting money, when cooking to measure ingredients or turn on my oven, while driving (i.e. speed limits), etc.

With two young kids, we’ve tried to find some creative ways and tools for our kids to recognize numbers and learn some basic math.  Here’s a small sampling that you might be able to incorporate into your home:

20181103_144255Counting to 10 daily with our fingers:  When my older child was a baby, I had her in a local “babynastics” class.  During that class, the instructor had everyone count to 10 with their fingers.  I thought this was important for fine motor development, listening skill development as well as number and counting basics so I adopted this at home.  Every morning, my older child and I make it a habit to count to 10 with our fingers in front of my 1 year old.  My older child loves this because she is able to do this easily and she is “teaching” her sister and it literally takes 10 seconds to do it!

20181103_150715Food Math:  This has been especially fun with leftover Halloween candy like M&M’s and skittles.  We count the number in each color from the bag, we count the total number, we use the colors to do simple addition and subtraction.  It’s a lot of fun!  I also let my kids select and count the food at the grocery store (for example, putting apples into the bag).

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Stained Glass Made Easy by Melissa & Doug Princess

Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Made Easy Activity Kit: Princess – 100+ Stickers, Wooden Frame:  Someone in our family gifted this to my daughter for her birthday.  Not only was it fun for her, it caused her to do some critical thinking, problem solving and learn to recognize numbers all the way up to 102!   

Reading the Calendar: We found a princess calendar at the beginning of the year in the discount bins at Target.  It hangs in my daughters room and part of our bedtime routine is to talk about the date on the calendar for the next day.  I know that this concept is used in many preschool classes as well.

20181014_162536Drawing and writing the numbers:  There are tons of dry erase books and pads out there to practice with but this Kid O 0-9 Learn Your Numbers Magnatab has been one of my favorites.  Children use a magnetic pen and draw over the board which brings up the metal pegs to create the numbers. 

Clock 1
Teach how to tell time from “Smart School House”

Reading the clock:  During the day, my children like to know when to expect various things – like snack or nap or TV time or time to leave for school, etc.  We have a traditional wall clock hanging in several areas of our home.  My older child isn’t old enough to understand multiplication yet but she is able to recognize which is the small hand and which is the big hand.  So I tell her, for example, when the big hand is at “3”, we will have our snack.  When my child gets a little older, I plan to use an idea I found on Pinterest from “SmartSchoolHouse“.

Watching Sesame Street: My children love Sesame Street.  We actually watch the reruns on the Roku PBS App often.  They have so many counting related clips in each episode.

This is just a small sampling of things we have found helpful.  What types of things do you do or what tools do you use at your house to help with number recognition or to improve math skills with your child?  Let me know in the comments or at momgineeringthefuture@gmail.com.

Disclaimer: I am an Amazon Associate.  As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases made using some of the links above.

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