I've been thinking for some time that I'd like to use this platform to share more of our favourite play and learning materials with you. As you can imagine, after 10+ years of working with children as a primary school teacher, then almost 8 years as a childminder (gosh, has it really been that long!) and in recent years home educating too, I have a fair amount of experience when it comes to researching, purchasing, testing out and reviewing toys, books, games and other educational materials.
I thought I'd start with this series of books that we've been really enjoying in recent weeks, and that have been helping Bean to practise her maths skills in a gentle, engaging and fun way. The series is called Maths Quest, and is written by David Glover.
There are four in the series:
They're also available as a box set, with another eight books of a similar style, but with a focus on science and history. We're yet to try those out though, so I can't recommend them.
As you can see from the blurb on the back, each book focuses on a different math skill... number, calculation, data handling and shape, space and measure.
What we love about these books is that you are immediately drawn in to a captivating story, with little sense that you are being tricked into practising math skills. If your child is anything like mine, and is turned off by anything that remotely resembles a lesson, then this series of books is likely to be a hit.
Throughout the story your child is given options, and there are no negative repercussions if they make the 'wrong' choice. It simply changes the direction the story takes, eventually bringing them back to the same place so that they can try a different course of action.
With the math problems, a gentle explanation is given for the incorrect answer, often with another opportunity to attempt to answer the question correctly with a bit more guidance. It can be helpful to have math manipulatives, and/or paper/pen available for helping to work out more tricky problems, but the appeal of these books is that it doesn't really matter if your child can't figure out the correct answer immediately.
It's difficult for me to give these books an age recommendation, as children all learn at different rates, but I'd say that they're suitable for children roughly 7-11 years. I read these to Bean, and support her with the math problems if she needs it, but confident readers may enjoy reading them independently.