## MouseMatics: Workbook of Logic Problems: Unusual Math

Logical and Math fun and game-like exercises for 5-6 years old, but not limited to this age group. Reading skills are not necessary.

Mouseland: Ideas and Games for Kids and Their Parents.

Logical and Math fun and game-like exercises for 5-6 years old, but not limited to this age group. Reading skills are not necessary.

You don’t have to be a college graduate with a degree in math or a professional teacher to teach preschoolers mathematics. All you need is the desire to enthrall the children with subjects that YOU are interested in, in addition to some sensitivity and flexibility of the mind, so you can guess the children’s needs and adapt the games in the course of playing. And these games can be very diverse. After all, the main thing that is worth teaching them is the ability to think and to reason, to analyze the options, to search for different solutions and to make their own small discoveries. This can be learned not only while sitting behind a desk, but also while lying on a carpet or even hopping on three legs. This book is a collection of our favorite ‘math games’ that turn our classes into fun celebrations as opposed to boring study sessions.

Dear parents and teachers! You now have in your hands a far from ordinary workbook for the ordinary subject of mathematics. There is a multitude of books and aids that help preschoolers become familiar with mathematics. All these aids introduce children to the world of numbers and geometric figures, teach them to tell numbers apart, continue patterns, and find identical pictures. The problems and tasks presented in all these books are more or less similar: connect identical shapes, find the odd one out in a set, count the number of objects, add or subtract, find the largest object, connect the dots to write the number 3, number 4, number 5, and so on. However, the standard exercises conceal several dangers. First, they perpetuate unnecessary stereotypes to which the child quickly becomes accustomed. For instance, if the child needs to find an odd one out in a set, there may be only one correct answer. If the child is asked to match identical figures, there will be exactly one match for each figure, and the counterpart will be located in a different column. The child perceives the instructions and solutions as the “rules of the game” and learns to follow them, and is stumped by the smallest exception to these rules – say, there are two different ways to exclude an extra object or there are three matching shapes. There are also hidden, but pervasive visual stereotypes: children often memorize images and connect them with the required words; for instance, they know that a picture with dots drawn in the corners of a square is called “four”, and an identical picture with an extra dot in the middle is called “five”. But can they recognize the same number five if it looks different? These stereotypes interfere with a child’s ability to master counting, and constrict the child’s freedom of thought. Therefore, in this workbook we try to break as many stereotypes as possible.

This book is meant for children 6-7 years old. It can be used as preparation for elementary school, as well as a supplement to a regular school curriculum. This book does not repeat, but supplements and expands traditional school programs. It does so not by increasing the number range, but through a wide range of interesting problems that help the child feel more comfortable in navigating the world of numbers and mathematical concepts. The tasks in this book exercise logical thinking; explain such mathematical concepts as greater than/less than, counting order, etc., in a child-friendly manner teach children to recognize the number of objects in a group by sight, without counting them one by one introduce children to symmetry, the concept of coordinates (by recognizing “apartment addresses” in a multi-story building).

Mousematics – Learning Math the Fun Way is a series of workbooks for children aged 4 to 7. This is the first workbook in this series. What makes it so unique? First of all, these workbooks have a slightly different purpose than other math books for preschoolers. The main purpose of the Mousematics series is not to teach preschoolers to count (this is something every child will inevitably learn sooner or later), but to spark the children’s interest, to invite them along on an exciting journey into the world of logics and mathematics. This is why the tasks in these books are made to be interesting, above all. Four years is the age when many children begin to arduously count everything around them and look for familiar letters and numbers; and this book is intended to support this interest. Children will enjoy counting bunnies behind fences and helping a mouse avoid being eaten by a cat; and bringing a truckload of goods from the warehouse.

Secondly, we tried to make sure the tasks a created in a way that children do not form stereotypes that so easily sprout and thrive from standard workbooks. What are these stereotypes? There is always a solution, and there’s always only one (this workbook sometimes allows two correct solutions, or no solution at all – for example, when there are only two floors in a building, and the child is asked to find the third one) The dots that have to be counted are always round, and the grid cells are always square (we sometimes have the dots replaced with pluses or triangles, or any other shape. And instead of squares, we might have diamonds or trapezoids) You can only count from left to right (in this workbook, there are different possible ways) If there are two columns and a line needs to be drawn to connect identical objects, the paired object will be found in the second column (in our book, it might be in the same column, or there might be no pair at all) Five is when five dots are in a row, or when they are arranged with four in the corners of a square and one in the middle, like on game dice (we have five objects shown in dozens of different patterns) “Come on, I’ve done this task before!” (In this book, the tasks of the same type get gradually more complicated) As far as stereotypes go, four-year-old children as much easier to work with than first graders, because it is harder to break deeply rooted stereotypes than to prevent them from developing in the first place.

Thirdly, we have to remember that the foundation of mathematics is not the actual counting, but the ability to think logically. This is why our exercises are aimed primarily at developing logic skills: the ability to identify attributes, as well as the ability to find identical objects or to find the “odd one out” among objects, based on shape or color, etc. Sometimes children inadvertently mislead adults by quickly learning to say the tongue twister “one-two-three-four-five”, or even up to ten. It doesn’t really mean that the child has learned to count. Often even the children who say this tongue twister are not very confident in counting objects, and cannot always glance over and take in a group of objects and immediately understand how many there are. Another widespread adult misperception is the myth that any idea can be explained to a child, and if the explanation is simple enough, then the child will immediately grasp the concept. There are concepts and skills that have not yet been “owned” by children. For example, in order to find out how much 5 + 1 will be, many children put a finger next to their whole hand, and start counting the five hand fingers over again; and it is useless to try to talk them out of it. It means that the skill of computing operations has not been completely formed yet; it needs time and various training exercises aimed at adopting, assimilating that skill – at making it their own.

This is exactly what such workbooks as this one are needed for.