Bedtime Stories

We love to read at bedtime and always have.  Even before the boys could talk, we read stories at bedtime.  And, of course, they know that if they want to procrastinate bedtime, ask Mom if they can read a book (or 10).

Bedtime Math

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In addition to reading, my boys love Math.  On a whim, one will ask me, “Mommy, what is 45 x 34?”  I always wonder what makes them ask such a math problem at such a random time.  Just tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, my younger son, asked me what is 30 + 30 + 30.  Obviously, something made him ask me that, but I have no idea what that something was!

I was so happy to have found “Bedtime Math” by Laura Overdeck and illustrated by Jim Paillot.  My older son is so proud to tell friends and family that Bedtime Math is “a fun excuse for staying up late”.  He even took it to our New Year’s Eve gathering with friends and told their kids (ages 7 and 4) just that!  “I brought Bedtime Math!  It’s a fun excuse for staying up late!”

Each night, we read between three and five Bedtime Math problems.  The backdrop to the story problems make us laugh!  One of our favorites deals with the 10 second rule and how long you have before your dropped food is too gross to eat.  These short pre-Math problem paragraphs definitely get my kids interested in what is coming up.

The story problems are their favorite parts!  There are three problems for each scenario.  The “wee-ones” is always done by my youngest.  The “little kids” is done by either of my kids.  I like it when my younger son tries to do these problems because in many cases they are a challenge for him and will get him doing math in his head and not on his fingers.  The “big kids” problems are great for my older son because it has allowed him to do fractions, multiplication and division – something that he has not yet gotten to in school.  And, he has to reason through many of the problems because they are story problems and they involve a few steps to get to the answer.  Again, I am not sure how much of that reasoning and problem solving he is getting in school on a day to day basis.

I just noticed that there is a Bedtime Math website and app that I will definitely explore!  Stay tuned for my thoughts on those!

A “Maze”y Day

As I looked out the window today at the snow falling and the wind ferociously blowing, I knew that I didn’t want to go outside.  At the same time, I knew that my boys couldn’t watch TV all day.  So, I decided to introduce both boys to a new app that I had found.

Mazes

Will, my older son, loves mazes and has loved mazes since he could pick up a pencil and follow one.  We do mazes all the time!  Recently, I found a new app that allows users to create their own mazes.  Oh, how fun!!  I always let my boys be my app-user guinea pigs and I knew that I wanted them to try this one.

National Geographic Puzzle Explorer

Geo Maze Maker

I am not sure were I learned of this app: National Geographic Puzzle Explorer Geo Maze Maker.  This app combines maze-making skills and geography. Kids use problem solving skills to create their maze and test their maze.  Then, they can share their own maze with other people.  Each maze is set in a different area of the world, so the kids can learn about cultural regions throughout the world.  The photographs are amazing (obviously, this is a National Geographic app) and all of the text is read to the child.  This is so great because my 5 year old can play on the app AND benefit from all of the great non-fiction material.

Thinking of the Parents

Many of these cool educational apps that I have found are very much geared towards teachers and how teachers can use the app in their classroom.  I love that, because, after all, I am a teacher!  But, sometimes, I feel like many app designers or marketers are forgetting about the parent market.  Parents also want to know how to use these apps which their children.  National Geographic has obviously considered this!  Right on their website, there is an Instructor’s Tool Kit AND a Parent’s Tool Kit.  Thank you, National Geographic!!  Wow!

Everything is best shared

Will was so proud of his mazes today!  He wanted me to go on his iPad and play.  Geo Maze allows the user to share his mazes so that anyone can play the maze that your child created!  The downside is that the link to share comes as an e-mail link which is copied to your clipboard.  I explained how this worked to Will and showed him how to insert that link into an e-mail to send to me.  Zach (my 5 year old) did not really understand how to paste the link and send an e-mail, so he required a little more assistance.  It was so cool watching them sitting on the couch, making their own mazes and sharing the mazes with each other!