I wanted to get an abacus for Smarty for a while. My husband eventually got one on their last trip to IKEA. This abacus looks pretty much like the one we both had way back when except its gigantic size. Fortunately, it stores well, and Smarty loves playing with it. Unfortunately, it is not split into fives by color, and Smarty still doesn’t see groups of five the way we, adults, see them. At least she quickly figured out how to count by 10s using it. To be honest, mostly she enjoys it as a musical instrument – she is fascinated with the sound the beads make as when she hits them with her hands. I think it will be more useful in later years, but at least we have it on hand now.
I wanted to try coordinate games with Smarty since we read books about maps and they mentioned coordinates. I printed this Valentine game from Mathwire here. We didn’t have an ABC dice, so we played with a dice and a set of ABC plastic letters pulled at random. Having M&Ms on the board proved to be highly motivational – Smarty had no problems with reading coordinate pair and positioning her game pieces. The game, however, didn’t work well with the proposed set up – we both only captured one M&M per round. Anyway, she had fun and wanted to play it several times this week.
I wrote about our love for MiniLuk before. My husband really likes to create games, and he made several math game sheets for Smarty that he bound into the book. He doesn’t do anything half-way – he created his own characters (Pat the Cat and Bob the Dog) that are present on every page. I have to say that this numbers challenge is really very much on edge of what Smarty can do and is not easy for her – she can add, but only by counting dots on the dice. You can download the game here, but you will need a MiniLuk controller to play it.