In my household, I have never owned a tablet or Ipad of any generations as I believe if I don’t have the gadgets, my kids will have no access to it. The main driving force behind my thinking is due to poor eyesight and vision due to continued usage etc. I am fully aware there are information abound on the Internet if used properly . The information from the internet can do the kids a whole world of good, which is the greatest debate on the use of technology for the young and the preschoolers. I do not have an answer but in my household, I had subscribed to no ipad or tablets since the day J was born until the absolute need arises. So my kids are most happy when relatives visit as most will come with tablets or Ipad , they are one of the most technology deprived kids in Singapore.
As the family grew and kids needing attention, there is a occasional need to let my smartphone babysit the the younger crying wailing kids. Nevertheless, it was for very small snippets of time and I can’t be too rigid for my own good sanity dealing with 4 kids under 7. For example when small J whine and cry, I will use my phone to take a video of him and let him watch his own crying on the phone. He would immediately stop his crying and watch his own videos repeatedly. That is my best “hack” for small J. It has worked in most occasions especially outside!
So what does my kids do during spare time? I am not so fixative about watching TV though as the screen is bigger and I myself grew up watching……loads of it in fact and it did not affect my grades. I suppose the attraction of the tablets vs the TV is different and the level of damage to the vision as well. I have used DVD like Leapfrog, I can read to “babysit” the kids at times.
Of coz there are the toys, but they can get bored of it easily, so the best way is to keep in storage some and resurface them after a while and they will treat it with new interest!
And my absolute favourite …..board games! However for board games, it works for older kids say 4 year old and above to be able to understand the concept of the board games etc. There was a time that J was so into snake and ladders that he will invite everyone in the household to play with him including his sister who don’t really understand the concept but play along.
And over the holiday, J discover the whole new world of Monopoly as there was a set of kids Monopoly in the kids room at the hotel that we were staying over the year end break. He was very very happy to stay in the hotel room to play Monopoly. Thank god J only discover this on the last night of our stay….if not i am sure he will just stay in and not leave the hotel room. And after the trip, I took our my decade old Monopoly set from storage and he was overjoyed!
I always knew J loved board games just that I didn’t have the time to sit and play with him. The only disadvantage of board games , most cannot be played singly!. You also need some one else to play with unlike the smartphone, tablets etc. But the disadvantage can turn into an advantage which open a whole side of being sociable, and not afraid of losing etc.
And when learning Mathematics can be part of a board game…that is a total jackpot to a parent like me and its not at all boring ..to some Mathematics can be boring because there ain’t much imagination or colour or fanciful words….so playing with Mathematical concepts…how fun can it be? I would not be going through all 26 variation of games but some of the more interesting ones for my kids.
The sets are targeted mainly for kids ages 6 to 10 years old but how my 5 and 3 years old uses the materials in it, it is just pure magic! These two sets are locally produced by the publisher Add-venture Learning who also publishes the magazines, +venture in Maths and Inspire. You can read my reviews of the magazines in my previous posts.
Math-a-Morphosis Geometry Set
This set come with 4 different coloured sets of tangrams, 1 shape dice, 1 number dice, 1 fraction dice ,4 counters , 3 sets of cards game , 1 set of big tangram cards, 1 board game and 1 set of double sided jigsaw puzzles.
This table list the no of variation of games and the play. This Geometry set has a total of 10 games of differing levels and play mode -individual or group. For each game, the table will show the topics covered and the skills acquired. In each of the games set, it is divided into card games and board games.
Geometry – Card Games
I have tried several games with the kids, mainly with J of course as the games are all pitched for his age group. The first 3 games names memory, 2 Plus 1 and 3 Plus 1 (varying difficulty). These 3 games are suitable for ages even from my 2.5 year old. There are many ways to play it..ie competitive mode, or just simply play it singly just like what my 2.5 year old and my 5 year old did. There are also the more challenging 7 piece tangram formations which my 7 year old can complete easily. Even though there are some simpler 7 -piece formation one which my 5 year old can to do as well.
Seen here is my 2.5 year old unassisted trying to do the tangram card games from the simpler sets and my 5 year old attempting the 7 piece formation.
My 5 year and 7 year old loved the slide and splash board game. It used the 7 piece tangram set. The rule is to use the snake and ladder concept which most kids will be familiar with and the first person who complete their selected tangram picture will be the winner. Now he has abandoned the basic snake and ladder board game for this “improved” and more challenging “snake and ladder” game.
The tac-toe board games is double sided with 2 mode of play- fraction or tangram. After fixing up the 9-piece jigsaw, it will reveal 9 different shapes. The concept of play is just like how we play tic-tac-toe, ie winner is the first to form a straight line. For the fraction-tac-toe, it uses a number dice to determine whether a player completes the selected shape or complete half of the shape depending whether it is odd or even number. For the tangram-tac-toe, it uses the shape dice to determine which share the player get to pick first and complete using their own tangram pieces.
I must admit this is the more favoured set of the 2 game sets as it has 4 coloured tangram pieces set (colour and tangible appeals to younger kids) and concepts which my younger kids understand ie shape. However for J he is indifferent has he loved different games in both set.
Math-a-Morphosis Numbers Set
This set consist of 1 10-sided direc, 2 6-sided number dice, 2 sets of Number Friends cards (0-20), 2o hexagon counters and 2 sets of number plates (0-9) and 10 operations plate (6 ‘+/-‘ and 4 ‘x/÷’), 2 board games and 3 number hunt game sets.
This set has a total of 16 variaion of games divided into card and board games of varying level , play mode. The list also outlines with topics and skills corresponding to each game.
Numbers – card games
Number memory game are suitable even for younger kids. It is a fairly simple concept of covering the 10 pairs of cards from 0 to 9 and the person who has the identified the most identical pairs win. To make it a bit more difficult , remove the “0” pair , and instead of matching similar numbers, matching by number bond of 10 ….9&1, 8&2 etc. For older kids, you can even use 2 sets of of 1-20 number cards and create memory cards game for multiplication and division too!
Fun with Numbers is a set of 24 puzzles involving whole numbers and 4 operations. Using the number plates provided, J is able to try different permutations to find the correct combination. Some of the puzzles are more difficult than the other. Just work through the different puzzles with your child and this make addition and subtraction less of a chore and fun!
(p/s not to worry there is a guidance booklet with suggested answer if the parents themselves have difficulty)
Numbers – board games
One of J’s favourite is the number hunt game. There are 3 variations to this board game consisting Number hunt I, number hunt II and fraction hunt. The difference between Number hunt I and II is one uses addition and subtraction while the later used four operations. For now, the fraction hunt will be too difficult for J as he is not expose to fraction yet. He was happily “hunting” for the correct number sets on a Friday night which is designated as PLAY night!
3-Out is a visual and strategic thinking game whereby the player loses if 3 hexagon counters are in the same line.
Math chess is a mini board game for pupils to practise forming maths sentences using 4 operations. This game can be played individually. For primary 1, you may begin with addition and subtraction plates first before venturing into all 4 operations.
My favourite childhood board game was Mastermind. Much to my delight when I saw a similar concept game appearing in this Numbers set. It is called the secret code. Instead of using coloured pegs, it uses numbers! Yellow hexagon counters represent the number is not in the correct position while the red hexagon counters represent the correct number and position.
There are still many unexplored games in both sets and varying level of difficulties. So these 2 sets will be still of use when J goes to upper primary to introduce him new concepts through play. I guess the main problem for parents is finding time to “play” with the kids. Of course if you have 2 primary school going kids, there maybe less of an issue as they are play most of the board games together. The older kid can even teach the younger kids new concept like how J teaches C to play the number bond memory game. For the other games, it will be for me to play with J mostly for now. In the constant call for more face time and less screen time, this may be the way forward and board games to me are a better investment that toys! Board games can be heirloom too….like my decade- old monopoly and scrabble sets!
These game sets are priced as a bundle of 2 sets at SGD 70. Individually they are priced at SGD 40 a set. You can order through using this form.
Finally, the giveaway as promised, it will be the exact same 2 sets of Math-a-Morphosis game sets of Numbers and Geometry(worth SGD70) featured in this review for 1 very lucky reader (which includes free delivery to your home) for hours of mathematics fun and family bonding.
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Disclosure: I received a set of +venture in Maths , Inspire and Math-a-morphosis game sets for the purposes of my review. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are my own.
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