Math Gifts for 2013

christmas-tree-presentsIt’s Black Friday. That means it’s time for leftover turkey, pumpkin pie, and a Tech Powered Math Christmas tradition, my list of Christmas gifts for kids who like math. Every year, I create a list of math gifts for kids of all ages (even grown up kids). If you are looking for a mathematical gift to encourage a budding mathematical mind in your family, I’d encourage you to cast a wide net. Math gifts don’t have to be all flash cards and calculators. They can be anything that encourages mathematical thinking or shows a love of problem solving.

On this list:

  • Math and learning technology
  • Math and logic puzzles and games
  • Math novelty gifts

Math and Learning Technology Gifts

For younger kids, the Leapster LeapPad 2 gets rave reviews as a learning tablet that is both durable and offers a wide variety of fun, highly educational games. As far as game suggestions, a couple of good ones to start with are Leapschool Math and The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Plushy Rescue.





While I talk about a lot of different topics at Tech Powered Math, graphing calculators still top the list. That means I have to include my favorite graphing calculator, the TI-Nspire CX on this list. It’s incredibly powerful and approved on almost all standardized tests.





If you do pick up a TI-Nspire as a gift and you want to bundle it with a little bit of extra help on getting started, check out my new TI-Nspire Tutorials DVD, which helps beginners (students and teachers) learn how to use the Nspire.





For truly advanced mathematical minds, let me suggest Raspberry Pi, a no frills credit card sized computer that can be used by ambitious “kids of all ages” to learn programming, hacking, and much more. It was recently announced that a free copy of the amazing math software Mathematica ($295 value) can be downloaded with a purchase of Raspberry Pi. This gift idea isn’t for the faint of heart, but for the right person, it could literally provide hundreds of hours of learning and challenge.




If your child has a Nintendo 3DS, take a look at American Mensa Academy. Among the categories covered in the game are numeracy, logic, visual, and special reasoning.






Math and Logic Puzzles and Games

I love games and puzzles as a way to encourage mathematical thinking because you can often have so much fun that you learn math without even realizing you’re doing so.

One of the most popular board games for practicing addition and subtraction on Amazon is the Sum Swamp Game. It has nearly a perfect 5 star rating.






Pattern recognition and strategy are at a premium in Quirkle, a game that’ll remind you a bit of Scrabble, and one of the most popular board games on Amazon.






Is the person you’re shopping for a fan of Sudoku? Then make that experience even a more mathematical by giving them the gift of Sumoku.






One of my favorites to play with late elementary through high school students, the Set Game teaches students to recognize common properties of sets






K’Nex are a creative set of construction toys. K’Nex Gears is one of the most popular K’Nex sets on Amazon.






Math Novelty Gifts

I’m not sure how much the recipient will learn from these math gifts, but it will allow them to show off their affinity for mathematics. Sometimes, that almost as much fun as learning.

One of my colleagues at school has this math clock and loves it.







If the math lover on your shopping list enjoys a cup of joe in the morning, check out this clever mug full of mathematical formulas.






As a math team coach, I can definitely appreciate this “mathletics department” shirt.







Good luck with your holiday shopping, and have a blessed holiday!

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Lucas Allen

Lucas Allen

For more than a decade, Lucas Allen was high school math teacher and math team coach in Illinois. His 2012 Morton High School math team won the Illinois state championship. Recently, he made the jump from public education to the corporate world and is a now working as a data scientist. He is interested in just about all forms of technology, including the TI-Nspire, Nexus devices, R, MOOCs, and more. You can follow , and if you are nice, he will probably follow you back.

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