Math may not have been your favorite subject, what with all the memorization of time tables and the repetitive workbook exercises. Luckily for kiddos today, math can be fun, creative, and exciting. These 6 eco-friendly games and learning tools, most of which are handmade, allow your little brainiac to think outside the box and see math in a new, age-appropriate, and interesting light. Whether you are a homeschooling parent or a mom or dad who just wants to introduce your kids to innovative ways of learning an often less-than-thrilling subject, these tools make math playful and applicable to daily life. Read on for eco-friendly games and learning tools that make learning math fun.
Fractions can be fun! This math manipulative clearly demonstrates the concept behind fractions and includes whole sets of the most common fractions. Use this math tool and then bring the concept to real life by demonstrating fractions on a pizza or cake, for example. The clean design of the fraction circle is due to the laser-cutting of the pieces, all of which are made from certified sustainable alder wood.
For your littlest tot, use these natural, organically finished and sustainably sourced number blocks to introduce number concepts. The 12 piece set includes 10 number blocks (for numbers 0-9), one “equals” block, one 4-sided block with each side devoted to addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and a cotton bag to keep everything together. We love that each number block features a corresponding number of shapes on the opposite side so that kids get a visual reinforcement of the number concept. Of course, it never hurts that the finish on the blocks is made from a local, organic blend of beeswax and camelina oil.
Waldorf math gnomes were a new concept to me, but apparently they are a super popular learning tool! And who wouldn’t want to play with these cute, handmade (and made to order) gnomes? This set comes with 5 gnomes (one each for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), made with 100% wool felt hats and sealed with beeswax. Kids can choose what they use for manipulatives, whether it be pieces of cereal, sticks, or any other group you have lying around the house.
Apple N Amos’s Montessori-inspired numbers “coins” are toys that can grow with your child and emphasize math skills at each level of development. The 20 smooth, sanded coins (comprised of two sets of the numbers 1-10) are great for playing matching games but can also be used for simple number recognition. Additionally, they are wonderful play money for playing “store” and may be used with an older child for equation work. The coins are made with salvaged or FSC-certified wood and sealed with a beeswax-olive oil mix.
Eeboo’s math-concept flash cards are available for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The brightly colored cards are self-checking, come with colored borders to facilitate sorting, and are printed using non-toxic inks. These affordable sets are also portable. Bring them along for long car rides or for waiting at a restaurant.
Plan Toys’ geometric peg board will draw in any child with its cheerful colors and the variety in the set’s shapes and sizes. In addition to enforcing fine motor skills and color recognition, the set gently introduces little ones to the concept of geometric shapes. Plan Toys, known for its commitment to creating sustainable and safe toys, uses eco-friendly materials such as a composite wood made from reclaimed wood particles and water-based dyes.