One of my kids’ favorite books is "Bedtime Math." This clever book by Laura Overdeck aims to make kids feel about math the way they feel about dessert after dinner. I have to say that she comes pretty close. This book is a creative take on the traditional bedtime story. And best of all, it will get your kids practicing their math facts without them knowing they are doing so. I also love it because it mixes up the bedtime story routine and makes it more interactive.
In "Bedtime Math," there are five chapters, each covering a fun topic such as exploding food and really odd jobs. Within each section, you’ll read the set up story with your kids and then based on the age of your child select one of the three math problems (with varying levels of difficulty). If you have multiple age children in your group, like we do, you can read the story aloud and then ask each child a different math problem. The siblings love hearing the different questions. I also think there are some great benefits of the younger kids listening to their older brother try to reason out an answer.
A sample story might be about playing with ketchup. In it, you’ll learn that everyone struggles with getting ketchup out of a glass bottle and that that maybe why they invented the plastic squeeze bottle. You’ll also learn that every cup of ketchup contains about 14 cooked-down tomatoes. (Who knew there were that many in 1 cup!!)
Then the math problems will range from:
Wee ones: If you squirt two squirts of ketchup on a hot dog, and then one more squirt on your friend’s head, how many squirts did you fire off?
Little kids: If you line up some burgers and squirt ketchup on the first burger, then every third burger after that, which burger in the lineup is the fourth burger to get squirted?
Big kids: If you squirt two cups of ketchup, and each cup used 14 tomatoes, how many tomatoes worth of ketchup did you just squirt?
In addition to the two books in the series ("Bedtime Math 2" was just released), you can go online and subscribe to their email newsletter and every day they'll email you a math problem for three different age groups: Pre K, Kindergarten and 2nd grade and up. (People, this is free so there really is no excuse not to do it). The problems are just as topical and fun as those in the book.
Recently we’ve read about and solved problems regarding ferris wheels, glow in the dark roads and the world’s biggest collection of rubber ducks. And best of all, the answers to the problems appear just below the questions, so you don't have to be worried about whether you know the correct answer. I love having these problems handy when we're sitting in the carpool line, at the doctor's office or in a restaurant.
"Bedtime Math" is a great resource for parents to helps their kids connect math concepts to real life situations
Chrissy Jones is a local Chicago mom blogger with three children (12,7 & 4). Her blog Beyondthepark.com showcases the best special events, activities, restaurants and products for Chicago families.
See more of Chrissy's stories here.
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