Maths for babies – a book I wish I’d written

A little known fact is I’m actually an accountant – I’m a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales. So it’s not surprising that I thought Numberjacks was a great idea for a kids TV show, and I’m always curious about new maths focused books. What is surprising, is that I didn’t write 100 ways, 100 days to teach your baby maths myself! What a superb resource.

Blurb

Let your baby lead the way as you explore the wonderful world of maths together through 100 daily activities, stories, and songs. No flashcards, no worksheets, no right or wrong, and no maths anxiety Within this 100-day maths journey, you will discover:

  • Maths ability on entry to school is a strong predictor of later achievement, double that of literacy skills.
  • Babies seem to be born with an amazing number sense.
  • Parents have the power to show their babies that maths is enjoyable and not something to be anxious about.
  • Babies can enjoy maths activities while boosting other areas of development.
  • The best time to start enjoying maths is in infancy.

What about the effect of gender, culture, sleep, diet—even the type of pushchair you buy? 100 Ways in 100 Days to Teach Your Baby Maths holds the answers.

“…use this book. It really will be worth it.”- Tony Attwood, founder, The Dyscalculia Centre“I loved reading this book. The approach is imaginative but also tied to everyday life, making the holistic integration of a maths-friendly parenting style something natural rather than forced.”- http://www.thebookbag.co.uk“The simple and well-researched activities and advice ensure that everyone can give their children the best start in life.”- National Numeracy

About the Author

Emma Smith is a Fellow of The Institute of Actuaries and a Chartered Accountant. She is a double academic prize winner with a First Class Maths degree and a lifelong lover of maths. She has worked freelance as an actuarial exam counsellor, an assistant examiner, and a writer. Her front-cover articles include “Your Baby is a Genius!” in Baby London Magazine. While writing, Emma is ably assisted by her dog, Button, her daughter’s cat, Princess Marshmallow, and her son’s cat, Squeezy Paws.

Hopping corn science experiment

I just had to share this cool science experiment from the fabulous Suzie at StemSpark. Is it just me, or is this like making your own lava lamp? Love, love, love it!

Anyway, here are Suzie’s easy peasy instructions …

You’ll Need a clear glass container popping corn water baking soda white vinegar food coloring (optional)

Instructions 1) Fill your glass container with water and add a couple drops of food coloring.

2) Add your baking soda and stir well until it is all dissolved.

3) Add a small handful of popping corn kernels.

4) Add the vinegar and watch the corn start to hop up and down!

Hopping Candy science experiment

The corn will hop up and down repeatedly in your container for over an hour.  It’s so much fun to watch (mesmerizing would be the best word to describe it). The experiment creates a great opportunity to talk about gases, liquids, and solids with your child.

Basically, the science behind the activity is that when the baking soda and vinegar combine, they react to form carbon dioxide (CO2) gas.  The gas forms bubbles in the water, which enclose the corn kernels.  The bubbles lift the kernels up to the surface, and when the kernels get to the surface, the bubbles pop, and the kernels sink again.

Calling all budding entrepreneurs

You’re never too young to set up your first business, whether it’s the lemonade stand on the street or some fancy gaming app. My son has several business ventures up and running including break-time haircutting services for his friends at a bargain £3 (compared to £10 at the local barber shop). Sadly, the business plan collapsed as school were rather less than impressed by the resultant mullets and mohicans, but I was secretly quite chuffed with the initiative.

I’ve got a Creative Writing Workbook coming out in October, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in the non-fiction world recently and was excited to be offered a chance to review the Creative Genius Journal.

Creative Genius Journal cover

 

The blurb says

With 9 challenges that build the skills to help inform and develop a child’s resilience, imagination, improve their creativity, encourage drafting, sketching, reviewing and self-correcting of information and ideas. These are important, as alongside problem solving and working with others, they are the skills they will need for their futures.

But to my mind, it offers even more; it encourages those first steps towards launching a business. The activities include things like design a piece of apparatus for an adventure playground (the next Dyson?), or create a character to advertise a new drink (very Sir Alan Sugar/ The Apprentice). Each challenge draws in lots of aspects but they’re broken down into fun, manageable chunks.

GIVEAWAY TIME!

I want to have a go myself, but I’ve resisted and have a pristine copy to give away to one lucky reader (UK only, sorry).

You can enter here …

https://kingsumo.com/g/kd8d0c/creative-genius-journal

About the author

Susan O'Coonnor

Susan has taught for over thirty years in schools and colleges and has produced maths games and written several books for children and teenagers – ‘Mighty Memory Tricks’, ‘High Five Jive’, ‘Be Positive’ and ‘Creative Genius Journal’. These practical books are fun but have genuine educational benefit. Currently, she is writing for Bloomsbury Publishing.

 

Lessons from a 9 year old coder

I’m literally bursting with excitement at introducing my guest today. Yeva Patterson is an ultra cool 9 year old coder. She’s a big supporter of girls in tech and STEM, and I reckon she’s probably the youngest VR developer in the world! Today she’s sharing her tips to help get other kids into coding, and a special selection of book recommendations on coding for kids.

 

So over to Yeva …

 

How I Got Into Coding

My parents are developers and they started teaching me how to code when I was 5 years old.

They were developing a mobile educational math app and they let me help. I would build levels for it and they actually put them into the app! I was so excited that people would play what I built so I kept going, learning more about coding and finding out what else I could create.

I realized that learning to code allowed me to be creative in a whole new way. I learned that you can code computers to do just about anything.

I found code.org tutorials particularly fun and helpful and progressed through their curriculum. I enjoyed getting their certification achievements. After I learned some coding basics I got to start using Unity3D game engine and worked on creating some fun apps. Unity now has a free asset called Unity Playground that is a simplified version of the more complex game engine. I’ve been playing with it recently and it’s really good for early programmers to first learn on Unity.

Late in 2017 I got to try virtual reality for the first time. Once I put the headset on, I fell in love! It was so much fun! I could fly! I could ride in Santa’s Sleigh and deliver presents and I could float above earth at the space station. Around the same time I was asking my parents for a rock wall but we didn’t have any space for a real one. So I decided the next best thing would be to climb in virtual reality so I built a climbing experience in VR. I made it into the shape of Google’s logo for their Doodle for Google contest because the theme that year was to doodle what inspires you. I am inspired by VR and the limitless possibilities of what you can do with VR.

What I love about VR is that it is not only really fun, it is also really useful. You can learn things in VR in such a different way. You get to be inside an environment and experience it and interact with it in a whole new way. My parents said that they could see how enriching learning in VR was for us. That’s when they decided to make a VR app to teach computer programming in VR. It’s called vCoder and it is the first virtual reality app that teaches coding in VR. I am helping them build vCoder because it is really entertaining to code in VR and I want other kids to learn how fun programming can be. This is really exciting because kids can enjoy and immerse themselves in an engaging VR world. Along the way they learn a valuable skill and see that they can learn to code too.

There are some great resources for kids to start learning how to code. I recently had a great time presenting to a class of Kindergarteners and First graders and I recommended they can easily get started at Code.org. They have tutorials even for kids that don’t read yet. I also recommend Girls Who Code.

 

I really enjoy teaching other kids about coding and have a passion for supporting and encouraging more kids to learn how to code. So I made some video tutorials on my YouTube channel, Yeva Codes, that helps young kids get started with code.org. I love doing it! I’m making more coding tutorials and will be adding them to my channel.

I hope to inspire other kids, and especially young girls, ​to learn how to code so they can create their dreams too!

 

These are my top books for getting kids into coding:

 

Hello Ruby Adventures in Coding (Journey Inside the Computer and Expedition to the Internet) by Linda Liukas

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World – by ​Reshma Saujani

Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code – by Stacia Deutsch How to Code a Sandcastle – by Joshua Funk

Secret Coders – by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes Dot – by Randi Zuckerberg

 

 

Wow! Thanks very much Yeva.

Readers, you can see why I was so excited! I can’t wait to show my family these books, plus the websites and apps, and see where this journey takes them. I hope this inspires them, and many other kids, to give coding a go.

If you’ve got any questions, I’m sure Yeva would be delighted to answer them! You can even follow her on Twitter on @yevacodes

How to boost your child’s emotional intelligence with journalling

Journalling can be an effective tool for exploring your emotions – it can help you put things in perspective, understand and process your feelings, and focus on positives. At this time of year, the stationery shops are overflowing with gorgeous diaries. I can’t resist a fresh notebook for a fresh new year, even if I mainly use it to make lists.

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But keeping a diary doesn’t appeal to every child, so prompts are a really useful tool. I was shown The Happy Self Journal at an event and totally fell in love with it. It’s beautifully packaged, comes with some free stickers (who doesn’t love a sticker!), and it’s a fab bright yellow colour with a good strong cover. Those aren’t the important points though …

  • Firstly, it’s gender neutral. If we’re avoiding stereotyping girls and boys emotions, thats obviously important.
  • Secondly, you don’t have to work through it chronologically like a diary. It’s like a colouring book – flick through and the child can pick whatever activity that appeals. I guess if you wanted them to explore a particular theme, you could point out a few pages.
  • Thirdly, of course, it’s not overwhelming in quantity – just a few sentences is all that it takes so its also good for reluctant writers.

 

It says its aimed at 6-12 year olds, but I’d probably narrow that to a core of 7-10 year olds. If you’d like to check it out, here’s the link https://happyselfjournal.com

I’m thrilled to have a copy to giveaway – just comment and share this post on Twitter tagging @lexi_rees and @HappySelf_. Competition is only open in the UK. Closing date 30 November 2018.

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