Maybe I have already told you how difficult Math was for me at school. It was as though the teachers were talking me in a different language and I didn’t understand absolutely anything. I had no problems with learning my letters. I was reading well and I still love to read and write, but Math was a nightmare. Actually, I am still very bad at Maths, and I keep trying to find ways of how to help little ones not to walk the same path…
The helpful thing I realised about letters and numbers a long time ago, after I finished school, was related to synaesthesia. If you haven’t heard about this, it is a neurological or psychological phenomenon whereby a particular sensory stimulus triggers a second kind of sensation. Funny! All my life I have been seeing numbers and letters associated with different colours, also the names of the days and some melodies. I thought everyone was like me and was very surprised to realize that most people are not.
So, my idea is – talk to your child about how he or she “feels” and “sees” the numbers and letters. Even though they don’t have this “colour vision”, maybe it will be helpful for them to practice some difficult number combinations. For me as a young student it was very strange to learn that 0 + 0 must be 0. OMG! Nothing plus nothing were for me two “nothings”, not only one. Especially when everyone was trying to explain using both hands: “I don’t have anything in my left hand and don’t have anything in my right hand. How much does that make together?”. For me it was “nothing and nothing”, which is 00 and I kept writing it in my notebook like that for many, long months. Until one day, I just memorised the correct answer and stopped having problems.
If your child has problems like this or with memorising times table, you can make these colourful bookmarks together. Drawing and colouring will help with memorising, because more senses are working together.
How to make the Math handmade bookmarks
First you need to cut some paper pieces – 8” and 2.5-3”. Don’t make them too long, because this will tempt you to put more numbers there and this will be not good for memorising. Better to make more bookmarks.
I also suggest using high quality watercolour paper. First, it will help you to follow my steps and use the watercolour marker technique (which I love!). Second, watercolour paper is somehow elastic and the handmade bookmark will survive longer inside a kid’s book.
Second step – draw, with a pencil, some of the sums that your child finds most difficult. Make the numbers big.
Using the Watercolour marker technique colour the numbers. And also, draw around them. Make them pretty. Make the bookmarks look like a decoration not a lesson. Playing is the easiest way to learn difficult things.
Using a black marker outline the number to bring the colours out. All of these steps should be done together with your child. Your role is just to help and advise. The best way is if the little one makes the bookmarks and all the numbers and decorations by himself or herself.
Using the same steps, on the reverse side of the bookmark, draw the answers to the sums. The colourful numbers will find their places in the child’s mind easily.
And then the bookmark is ready!
You can put one handmade bookmark in every book your child is reading, in every schoolbook or notebook…
In the same way you can also make “reader’s” bookmarks. This is for a bit older kids – to feel the pleasure and to understand the importance of reading
Draw first with alcohol based markers some shapes..
…and give them to your child to colour.
Online you will find wonderful quotes about the importance and pleasure of reading. Use them to decorate your bookmarks and enjoy the time creating with your child!
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