My five year old has definitely stretched me in more ways than one. He is such an active-hard-to-sit-still kind of little boy that I've had to be ... well ... creative in how I present ideas to him. I've come to learn to think beyond my norm in order to accommodate his learning style and preferences.
I decided we would give Math Lessons for a Living Education (book 1) a try. It has been just perfect for him. He enjoys following the story of the kids and the excercises are just enough for his attention span. The book doesn't cover a specific grade and from its scope & sequence it could easily be spread out over two years. We are taking it slow and I couldn't be more pleased with our progress. We're already half way through the book and I feel he really understands the concepts well.
I've used every math manipulative idea thus far. The book does have some handouts to copy and use at certain points, but he has found them not enough (or to flimsy on just regular paper); especially his recent addition page. We've given it just a little more a-ha!
When we reached addition a few weeks ago, I decided to take a few things in our arts & crafts cabinet to create something more sturdy and vibrant for him. I gathered some scrap booking paper, packaging tape, extreme glue stick, letter stickers, a small envelope and two chipboard sheets.
I placed the two chipboard sheets just a little apart so that it could fold in like a book and ran the tape down the middle on the front/back:
Then really it is up to you how you want to cut your paper and design your mat. My son picked the paper and their placement. I have many letter sticker sheets; he got to choose that too. I just made sure I placed the envelope in the middle of one side and the sheet with the equation squares on the opposite side. I used my glue stick to secure everything in place:
I cut all the little squares and numbered two sets up to 20. I also keep handy a little container full of these colorful rocks he likes to use as counters:
The little container gets covered put back on top of the filing cabinet with the other manipulatives we've made for his math so far. The math mat gets closed and filed with his math book in the filing cabinet. He looks forward to pulling it out in the mornings and showing me how much he can add. I couldn't be more pleased : D