Marshmallow Math; Early Math For Young Children by Trevor Schindeler and Rob Brownlee is an introductory math book that can be used as early as the toddler years. The book title comes from the fact that you can use everyday objects around the house, like marshmallows, to teach math concepts to young children. The book starts with the basics like counting and sorting. These skills are suitable for kids who aren't able to read and write numbers yet. Once these skills have been mastered, new skills are added.
"Given the importance of early learning in cognitive development, Marshmallow Math begins with number concepts that young children can master before they learn to read and write numbers."
The focus of the book is mainly on mental math and hands on math, so an ability to write isn't necessary. There is no need for a child to even know numbers. The book goes all the way to multiplication and division.
"The book also explores other important concepts including sorting and comparing, telling time, spatial awareness, pattern recognition, geometry, measurement, and reasoning."
How to Use Marshmallow Math
Because one skill builds on another you really can't skip ahead. However Marshmallow Math is divided into two parts that can be followed simultaneously. So, you can work on two skills at one time.
Part 1 starts off with counting to 10 while Part 2 starts off with sorting. Then Part 1 moves onto One to One Correspondences while Part 2 explains how to introduce the concept of time.
So your toddler or preschooler can build two important math skills at a time. There is also a Part 3 that focuses on mental math and skip counting. Part 4 focuses on advanced concepts like odd and even, fractions, multiplication and division. Marshmallow Math uses games and fun activities to teach many of the concepts. This is a list of what's covered.
- counting to 10
- cunting backwards from 10
- ordinal numbers
- telling time
- spatial awareness
- mental math
- skip counting by 2, 10, and 5
- odd and even
- counting to 20
- place value
Review of Marshmallow Math
When I used this book with my preschooler, I loved the layout because it allowed me to work on two skills at a time. The methods for introducing concepts are easy to follow and the ideas on how to teach math to toddlers and preschoolers are very well thought out. Some are things you may have heard before, such as sorting socks.
But others are things you may not have thought of doing with a small child, such as teaching them how to count backwards, which sets the stage for teaching subtraction in the next chapter. In fact, there are many things I could have done with my older child that I didn't know to do or didn't think she would be capable of doing. They would have made 1st-grade math so much easier for her.
If you want to teach math, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division starting in the toddler or preschool years, Marshmallow Math is a great book to start with. It can also be used with elementary age kids. It may be especially helpful to kids who are struggling with math in school.