Affordable Alternative to the Constructive Triangles

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These shapes from Learning Resources are a great alternative to the rather costly Montessori Constructive Triangles.  They don’t have all the same shapes but they have other ones (circles and 1/2 and 1/4 circles) and enough shapes that I think the few missing ones aren’t a big deal.  You could make them yourself with laminated paper or cut them from heavy plastic of some sort. The quality is great (nice and thick) and they don’t have sharp edges

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These have the added bonus of being able to use them with a light table and they can be used as a sort of tanagram to make pictures with.  Tanagrams have been shown to improve a chid’s math thinking.

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The set can be purchased at amazon.ca 

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Montessori Inspired Math

Pumpkin 1 is just starting to be ready for math at almost 4.  Majority of children aren’t ready for math until that age as their brain hasn’t developed that somewhat abstract thinking skills needed for math.  Math has always been a difficult subject for me but I love the Montessori method of math since it’s so hands on it makes it much easier to understand.

We’re doing a combination of Montessori and Right Start Math.  You can read about the Right Start Math approach here and here.  And a video review by another homeschooling mom here.

Since I still want to use many of the Montessori math materials I am creating my own bead bars, chains and cubes with the Right Start principle of 5+.  Here is what my beads look like.

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So you can see for 6 it’s 5 dark and 1 light.  9 is 5 dark and 4 light.  The 5+ concept helps children to visualize the number.  You can visualize amounts up to 5 but after that you have to group them in your mind to be able to visualize.

Today I was working on helping her understand that the beads and the abacus are the same.

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She has always loved the hanging bead stair since she was little.  If you don’t have one I highly recommend it.  Today she was actually counting the beads past 5.  Usually she just rhymes the numbers off without 1 to 1 correspondence after 5 but today she insisted on counting every bead bar carefully.  When you start to worry as a mom that they’re not getting something, just give it time.  A few weeks older can make a ton of difference.

We’ve also been working on some geometry.  Today we did triangles and quadrilaterals.  Pumpkin 1 loves this geoboard from Discovery Toys and I do too.  It’s huge so it’s easy for her fingers to use, unlike the smaller ones.  I made triangles and quadrilaterals on it and she’d tell me which it was.  She also likes to just make pictures with the elastics.

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Last week I was teaching her (and learning myself) the different types of triangles.  The geoboard was also perfect for this.

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Pumpkin 2 likes to use the other side which is the Giant Pegboard.  Toddlers love to fit things in holes.  You can also do colour and shape matching and patterning and counting and so much more.  It’s just so versatile. You can purchase one for your family here:

http://www.discoverytoys.com/PublicStore/stores/pumpkinsandme/AMCA/product/Giant-Pegboard,621.aspx#sthash.PnGUdXcA.dpbs

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We’ve also been doing shapes on the light table.  I use this set of shapes on it and we put them together to make other shapes.  They’re like mini constructive triangles.

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I’m really enjoying homeschooling in math because of the awesome manipulatives available.

DIY Light Table

If you haven’t made a light table yet, you just have to.  They’re so much fun and kids love them.  And the best part – you can make them so fast and cheap, you might even have everything you need in your house right now.

Here’s what you need: a clear plastic bin and a string of white Christmas lights.  That’s all.  I prefer the regular lights to the LED ones, they have a nice warm glow. Just put the lights in the bin with the cord hanging out, put the lid on a plug the lights in. We have a light table I made out of an old end table but I threw together a second one so both my daughter and my daycare child could work on their own (hoped to stop the fighting, however they then fought over the plastic tub one lol).

Here is the tub one I made and magna tiles on it.

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Here it is with a colour mixing activity we did.IMG_8956 IMG_8957