Adult tools often make excellent toys for children.

      This section is designed to help you create valuable play for children you know. Mileposts, license plates, clocks, calculators, calendars, toll road receipts, measuring tapes, and juke boxes are routine to an adult but to a child each can be a marvelous new entity. Create your own games and activities with these everyday items and they may no longer seem trite or boring to you.

      Before you throw away last month's calendar, take a look at it. Notice, if you box off any three numbers in a row, column, or diagonal (exclusive of the spaces with no date) then multiply the middle number by three, you get the sum of all three numbers:

      2 x 3 = 6 and 1 + 2 + 3 = 6,
      14 x 3 = 42 and 7 + 14 + 21 = 42
      12 x 3 = 36 and 11+12 + 13 = 36
      17 x 3 = 51 and 9 + 17 + 25 = 51

      Try boxing off four or five dates in a row. What about the sum of the numbers then? Try a square of four numbers. Can you find a pattern which will make it easy for you to find the sum of the numbers you've selected?

      As you drive down the highway make a contest to see who can find, in order, the numbers from one to fifty in any part of a license plate, in house numbers, or on billboards and signs. Try spotting mileposts and following the sequence as the mile numbers ascend or descend. A young child may have a great deal of difficulty even finding the numbers you point out before they are out of the field of a view of a moving car. Wait until the child is kindergarten age and has developed better eyesight and counting skills.

      Do this with humans, face, butterflies, and may leaves focusing on their bilateral or line symmetry.

      Examine with your child things such as flowers, starfish, wheels and star shapes focusing on their radial symmetry.

      I am not suggesting that you use the terms radial and bilateral with young children, but some may be ready to hear the words. The words are not as important as the idea of being balanced in a certain way. Show the children in your world the beauty and balance around them.

      Count the number of objects it takes to form a triangle or square array of things. This prepares the child to someday better recognize square numbers and triangle numbers.

      Teach the children in your world to see the patterns about them. If you acknowledge and enjoy mathematics in the world around you, your child will learn to do the same.

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