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One Grain of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale, by Demi, is a beautifully illustrated book that demonstrates a simple mathematical concept. Is it a fairy tale, or a math lesson? I'd say it's both.

In the introduction, the authors say that teachers were asking for resources they could give to parents "to use at home to help their children in mathematics. They told us that parent were frustrated in not knowing enough about their children's math program to help them or in not understanding the mathematics their children were studying". With a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, the authors developed the activities in Family Math.

The activities are hands-on, with objects like blocks and beans. As the authors say "traditionally, these materials are used mostly in the early elementary years and paper-and-pencil mathematics becomes the rule after second or third grade. This is unfortunate, since much of mathematics can best be explained and understood using the tools of manipulative materials and models; and, in fact, many research and applied mathematicians do just that."

Also in the series:

Family Math

Family Math for Young Children: Comparing

Family Math - The Middle School Years: Algebraic Reasoning and Number Sense

This is a great starting telescope, and has a very comfortable-round shape. Astroscan Telescope is a high-performance telescope that is easy-to-use, maintenance-free and completely portable.

A long time ago, there was a great store in Noe Valley called "Star Magic". It had all kinds of cool stuff in it, most of it to do with space and science (but not all). That's where I bought an Astroscan telescope as a gift for my husband and eventually discovered Edmund Scientifics. Years later, GalaxyGoo became an Edmund Scientifics affiliate, and we're now linking to one of their products: the Astroscan telescope. Funny how life travels these little circles and spirals.

Up for a little time travel? Let's way go back to days of morse-code and the early "wireless". I haven't tried these kits yet, but they look very interesting: Radio Receiver and Morse Code Kit The product description says that they're best for ages 10 and up. However, they also say, with adult supervision, they're good for ages 3 and up. Cool! Sounds like a family activity to me!

Puzzles! Brain Teasers! All in a little box! I try to keep things like this handy when traveling with the kids...or waiting for our order at a restaurant. Genius Decks

Shape Scapes Sculpture Set pieces have curvey shapes. Not your average construction set. While supposedly a kid's toy, it's also a nice desk toy.

The Color Splash Camera looks like a lot of fun. Retro and techy, at the same time.

Cool little stocking-stuffer: Staple-Less Stapler

These Robot Lamps are great! It's very cool that they've designed a version in "girly" colors too. It's sad that so many girls don't get to have robot toys, just because they don't come in pink. Well, now they can!

Kaleidoscopes are cool. Building your own is very cool.

Authentic Models Seeing Stars Kaleidoscope Kit kaleidoscope kit

These little markers are fantastic. Did I mention they're washable? Always a plus with art supplies for kids. They're also not as bulky as regular sized markers.

Crayola Pip-Squeaks Markers set of 16

Hand Boilers are looped and twisted glass sculptures containing a colored liquid that will "boil" as heat is transferred from your bare hand. Very cool!

The cool thing about these window mosaic kits is that you're not limited to the template they give you. You can reuse the tiles over and over again, creating your own designs.

Logic Links are great sequencing puzzles, and they come with colored chips to help visually organize thinking.

When I was a kid, I just couldn't get enough of Mastermind. I never got tired of it. The combination of logic and guessing was too much for me to resist.

Phyllis pointed out these ultra-geeky plush toys. Who could resist them?

To keep away the real bugs, be sure to wash your hands frequently. ThinkGeek has a fun soap dispenser too!

This design is based on our click-n-spell with the elements game. Chocolate is spelled out with symbols from the periodic table of elements.

Lego Mindstorms! This is at the very top of my 7-year-old's wish list. To be honest, I can't wait to play with it too!

A GalaxyGoo original...The Cell! A great t-shirt for any Biology or Science Geek. The design is inspired by The Cell Project at GalaxyGoo.