Review & Giveaway: Mathematics Thinking Mats


One of the newest offerings from Carson-Dellosa Publishing is a series of Thinking Mats for developing mathematical skills in grades K through 5. We received the grade K version to explore. Inside the box are 15 mats with corresponding cards. Written on the front are activity instructions.


In a classroom setting, the idea is that these would be part of a learning center that a child could use independently, in small groups, or one-on-one with an instructor. Silas is obviously several years younger than the target audience, but his ability to play with them demonstrates their open-ended nature. The intent of the Bear Cave mat, for example, was to sort the bears into groups, put one group into the cave, and then count the number of bears in the cave, putting that number card in the box in the upper right-hand corner. I didn't give Silas these instructions, however, because I was more interested in how he would choose to play with them. He immediately began matching the cards, putting all the "Mommies, " "Daddies," and "Babies" together (the publisher's intent for them, actually). Then he segued into some dramatic play about what the bears were doing.


I can't speak to how useful these might be in an institutional setting, but in the home they offer a collection of quick, easy activities to present to your child. I had actually just stumbled onto the idea of File Folder Games shortly before we received this box, and the concept is very similar. 


To me, some of the mats seemed far too advanced for the target audience, revealing a creep of academics into the lower grades (about which I am concerned). The Pick a Present mat, shown above, as an example, asks children to read the description on the mat and then to match either the shape card that is being described or the word (the picture of a yellow cone, for example or a card with the word "cone"). In the home setting, though, I am able to control which cards and mats my child would have access to and only present to him the ones that he is ready for, which I appreciate.

For now, these will go in the to-grow-into box. But once Silas does start to show more of an interest in learning things like numbers and such I will pull them out for him. I like their simplicity. I like that each mat isolates a particular skill to practice and does so in a very physical and hands-on way. I like that I (and he) can ignore the directions and use them in a manner that fits however we're working and learning at the moment.

Carson-Dellosa Publishing is generously offering to one A Life Sustained reader a set of Thinking Mats for Grade 1. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered in the random drawing to win. For an additional entry, "like" A Life Sustained on Facebook and leave a comment letting me know that you've done so. Comments will be closed on July 6 and a winner will be announced in this post shortly thereafter.

And the winner is...

"Love this! I'm always looking for new challenges for my little one.
-Carmen V."

Please drop me a line at cpcable at gmail dot com to arrange for shipping.

Thanks, Carson-Dellosa!

19 comments:

  1. I like that you could pull these out at a rough moment and have a instant activity for THOSE moments lol

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  2. This looks like such a fabulous product; perfect for on the go too!

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  3. Looks fun. I'm always looking for fun activities for my older girls.

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  4. These look like an awesome activity.

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  5. I think children would really like it!

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  6. These products are great - they look very engaging for children!

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  7. These would be great in the classroom and at home. I'd like to see the grade 3, but would use the grade 1 with my language learners or daughter

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  8. I also "liked" your page--thanks for sharing

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  9. They look like a great idea for kids to use independently to practice the skills we work on. I also liked your facebook page.

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  10. I teach Special Ed and I think this would be really helpful for centers

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  11. I also liked Life Sustained on FB

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  12. This will be a wonderful product for my students to practice skills.
    Thank you.
    Smiles,
    Heather

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  13. Love this! I'm always looking for new challenges for my little one.
    -Carmen V.

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  14. I love how colorful and inviting it looks.

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  15. These would work perfectly for center work. Great product.

    Twila

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  16. I liked A Life sustained on facebook

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  17. These are great!!
    abby1378@yahoo.com

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  18. These are great products.

    Evelyn

    evelynames1@yahoo.com

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  19. I liked you on facebook

    Evelyn

    evelynames1@yahoo.com

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