For Your Math Child

Updated on December 28, 2011
H.J. asks from Saint Paul, MN
8 answers

My son if 4 years old and loves math, he is pretty good with shapes and math, he love Team umizoomi, we bought him the three kits that you can get online. He plays the games all the time. We work on math all the time but I don't feel I am keeping up with his pace on math. He needs more. What do you use for your child to help with math, he is 4 yrs old so attention span isn't the greatest and I think that is why team umizoomi is so great for him, he can do great basic math, (struggles a bit with the number 10, yet) anyhow what can I move him onto that is fun and gets the attention of a 4 yr old and keeps it.

On a side note, are their any other math kids that arebad at writing, he is great at math loves doing things in his head but struggles with writing and doing math on paper, example the workbooks he has he will rather tell me what number goes in the box then write it down. I don't tend to push him to write it down because I don't want it to be a struggle. Is this maybe a typical issues for those who like math. My dad was a huge math person and never did write very well wasn't very advanced in that area! LOL

BTW I did not get much from my dad for math but it looks like it skipped to my son! Wow...He will be correcting me in no time :)

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answers from San Francisco on

He's only 4. I suggest you relax about all of it, and just keep giving him things he seems to enjoy.

There used to be a time when kids learned their abc's and beginning math in kindergarten. Don't push or worry, it's not necessary, and usually ends up being harmful.

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answers from Rochester on

I wouldn't worry about the writing part yet. At 4 the fine motor skills for writing are still developing. His not wanting to write the numbers could be that it is just too frustrating for him right now. I wouldn't push that. It will come when he is ready.

As far as math activities, I don't think you would need to go out and buy a "program". Have him help you cook or bake. That will introduce him to fractions. When you are shopping have him compare prices. You could even get into estimating--if this costs 48 cents that is almost 50 cents. There are lots of kids' books that teach math concepts. Do a search on Amazon and then go to the library. Do art/craft projects that include patterns and measuring. There are a lot of card games and board games that involve math skills and thinking skills that are important for higher math skills. Teach him how to play chess. There are also some math games you can find on-line. I'm not a big fan of them, but others are. Most important keep it fun. If it begins to feel like a chore for him, he will shut down.

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answers from Minneapolis on

He still too young to determine whether or not he has a writing issue. Kids sometimes don't have the motorskills to write well at this age, and if his brain works faster than his body can write things down, he may just be avoiding it altogether.

The other possiblilty is he has something called dysgraphia, and if this is the case, he will need therapy to help him master control so he can write. As I said, I think it may still be too soon for an evaluation, but it can't hurt to ask your pediatrician to refer you to a specialist.

As for his love of math, get him curriculum for Kindergarten or 1st grade, depending on where his abilities are at. It's not hard to find these days, thanks to all those homeschooling families out there who jump started a market for school curriculum for home use. I strongly recommend using a curriculum that is very visual and hands on, considering he is not writing so well yet. All three of these curriculums use manipulatives and interactive programs to help students gain understanding...not so much focus on workbooks, though they are used.

Some of the more popular math programs that use this approach that you both might enjoy include:


Right Start Math:

Saxon Math:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

My 5 1/2 year old is in kindergarten now. He had almost no desire to color or write or draw until last spring. That's when he began to be very proud of himself for writing his name in preschool, but still no interest in coloring. His teachers assured me that this was very normal, especially for boys, and that he would write and color when he was ready.

Kindergarten for him was a whole new world. He loves to color. He's very proud of his writing skills and he's always asking me to spell things so he can write them down.

Sounds like you're doing a great job of backing off when he needs you to. It's tough to find the balance between encouraging them to give it a try and pushing them. I feel we are very fortunate to have good kindergarten teachers at our school. My son loves school, and he's really eager to learn. I'm so glad their personalities are meshing and he's thriving.

Good luck! I'm sure he's doing great.

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answers from Minneapolis on

I have two boys in advanced math in middle school and high school. Math at age 4 should just be fun--puzzles, games, etc. If he is doing workbooks already it might backfire and he will learn to dislike math. Anything involving patterns is good for math skills. Reading books with numbers in them. My kids learned to count backwards at an early age by using the microwave (with supervision). Discovery Toys used to have some great toys and games that were fun and good for math skills. Putting together and taking things apart like toy train layouts is good for the math part of the brain. Legos. Board games like Chutes and Ladders. In first grade, my older son played a lot of Mancala. Just get him some high quality toys and play with him. My youngest son doesn't like writing, but it's more the physical act of writing than it is the concept. Sometimes his brain moves faster than his hand can write. Now that he's older he prefers to type. I have no idea if it is related to his math skills. My older son doesn't have that issue.



answers from Minneapolis on

I know some people are very opposed to video games and whatnot, but Leapfrog has great games and movies to help make learning fun. My kids have the Leapster Explorers and they have some EXCELLENT learning games. Mr Pencil Saves Doodleberg has helped my almost 4yo work on writing her letters and my almost 6yo son loves the football (math) game as well as a few smaller math and logic "apps." we got the Explorers a year ago and the progress my kids have made this year - while still having FUN - amazes me and my son's teacher. The variety of games provides something for every kid and still helps them see progress in their learning. My son loves nothing better than to collect his badges and see all the points he's earned! And I love that I can monitor his progress online and see not only how much he's doing, but how well he's doing.

Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

I don't know that it's typical of kids who like math. however, it may be indicative of your son's learning style. Or your son sounds like he might fall into the gifted category.

If you aren't familiar with the ACTUAL definition, "gifted" is somewhat of a hot button with mamas and educators, as it can be misdefined or mislabeled. Many people who don't know much about "gifted" kids will use the term to mean they think their kid is a HOWEVER, truly 'gifted' kids are typically IMBALANCED learners. Which means they master one skill above their "age" but may lag behind in others. it will all even out by However, in the younger years, especially, it means you can have a kid who is doing 1st or 2nd grade math, but is still pre-kindergarten in reading or writing.

At 4 it's really hard to tell. Although some schools have gifted programs beginning in Kindergarten and so they will offer testing this young. Typically, you would notice this and test for it in 1st or 2nd grade. You can do some research online and see if your son has more charachteristics of a gifted child.

He also may just "seem" behind in writing, because he is advanced in math.... therefore the filter is off. So the answer is just to keep him excited about math. Most of the time kids who are good at math will excel with a fretted instrument (guitar, violin) or the piano. So, this would also be a good avenue to see if he has interest and get him some lessons.

Make sure he is working out his hands to build nimble gross motor function ability, if he doesn't want to build these muscles with writing. Play with playdough, lace shoes, button shirts, put together legos and models with small pieces. That way you know it's not a gross motor function issue (ie - it's physically hard for him to write rather than a processing challenge or stubborness issue). You can also get color by number sheets that have abstract designs rather than pictures. Then you could say - color red a total of shapes that would add up to 12. (so he would color one area that has a 1, one area that has a 3, one area that has a 4 and two areas that have a 2 - OR two areas that have a 3, one area that has a 4 and one area that has a 2, which these choices would increase his ability to solve problems from different angles.) Then, color blue a total of shapes that add up to 4 etc etc etc.

The MOST important thing is to do what you are doing..... get him the tools to use to go at their own pace and don't push when they seem to be over it. But keep going back and revisiting. He will have to eventually build himself a toolbox so that he can write at an acceptable level to hand in documents etc. Sometimes typing is the answer, but there are many other tools if he continues to struggle.

One of the things I would do is take my daughter to the store and have her help me figure out the best deals - soup is easy because it's usually even price points.... should we get the 3 for $2 brand or the 4 for $5 brand. Help him break it down and then figure out which is the best deal. Even if he CAN'T do that yet, this is a great critical thinking exercise to hear YOU do outloud (even though I always had to use a

Good luck



answers from San Francisco on

The smartest people have the worst handwriting and hate to write because their brain works much faster than their writing hands. It's a good sign!

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