What is the Farmland Math Bundle?The Farmland Math Bundle is part of Timberdoodle's Preschool Curriculum Kit and has three components. The fold-out play mat has a cute farm scene with distinct areas like a farmhouse, pasture, and barn. The material of the play mat is very toddler friendly--as in, it's a sturdy wipe-clean play mat. The jumbo farm counter set includes 30 animals in six colors. The animals are rooster, cow, pig, horse, sheep. The colors are red, orange, yellow, blue, green, and purple. The Farmland Math guide is written by Timberdoodle. It is 36 weeks of "lessons" to help preschoolers develop basic math and thinking skills. The lessons are very short stories where I read about Farmer John's animals and Eleanor places the correct color and number of animals in the specified spot. Then I ask a few guided questions to check her understanding. The little stories are short and help kids develop early mathematical skills like counting, grouping, patterning and basic addition and subtraction, all while feeling like play!
What did we think?I've probably made it clear that I don't believe any curriculum is required for preschool ages, and any "school" done at this age should be child-led, informal and play-based in nature. Farmland Math easily meets this criteria in our home. The fun farm theme is inviting to young children, and the activities in the Farmland Math booklet feel like guided play. The stories are very short, which is perfect for the attention span of preschoolers. Everything is developmentally appropriate for preschoolers, which is what I find most important.
Eleanor was immediately drawn to Farmland Math! She wanted to play with it right away, and once we started, she insisted on MORE. Since the stories and activities are short, we can easily do a couple in one setting without her losing focus. Then, once we do a couple stories, she has free time with it. She loves to make up her own stories and play with the animals.
I love that even though the program is laid out in 36 weeks to follow a traditional school year, it's not really structured. Even if you're following a schedule, I'd be hard-pressed to find anyone would feel behind or overwhelmed with Farmland Math as part of a curriculum. It's just too simple and easy to use.
We've only had it a couple weeks, but so far the activities are very easy. They do progress in difficulty though, and the stories get slightly more complex. This means as your preschooler's cognitive skills mature, so do the activities. I suppose for children who might need more time on a concept, you could obviously repeat the weekly lesson the following week since many of them give suggested variations. I really like that it includes variations, because in my situation, it helps stretch it out for the child who continuously wants MORE of everything.
One other thing I appreciate is that the counters are of the jumbo variety. I also have a very inquisitive toddler, and anything she gets her hands on usually gets taste-tested. I don't worry quite as much about these, due to their large size.
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