Volume XVIII | Issue 2 | Fall 2018
The Abacus Project books

Fun with everyday math

Books offer math activities for infants, preschoolers

Most parents are aware of the need for developing reading skills in their young children. But a growing body of research is highlighting the need for children to hone their math skills. If you think your infant or preschooler is too young to learn math, you might want to reconsider.  

Math skills at kindergarten entry can predict later success in school — even more so than reading abilities or socioemotional development. 

“Children are born ready to learn both concrete and abstract math skills,” says Christy Cox, senior program officer for early childhood development at The Ford Family Foundation. “They notice quantities and are tuned in to different shapes and sizes even before they can talk.”

A pair of new books, published by The Ford Family Foundation, foster this readiness to learn. The Abacus Project: Numbers, Shapes, Patterns, Measurements is a collection of math activities for children. 

Two editions, one for birth to age 3, and one for ages 3 to 5, offer simple, brightly colored and illustrated activities printed on kid-friendly heavy card stock. The books provide ways for parents and caregivers to find math in everyday routines so that children of any age can hone their skills.

One of the inside pages

Each book is divided into four skill areas: numbers, shapes, patterns and measurements. Each book also contains suggestions for a low-cost, do-it-yourself math kit.

A previous edition from 2015 was written and produced by the College of the Siskiyous. The updated 2018 edition was edited and designed by The Ford Family Foundation. 

The Abacus Project books are free to residents of Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif., through the Foundation’s Select Books program. Others can download PDFs of The Abacus Project books from the Foundation’s website for free.

As a bonus, the two books come bundled with the children’s classic bedtime book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The book is loaded with math words and ideas to talk about with little ones. Goodnight Moon (Buenas Noches Luna) is also available in Spanish.  

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