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3 year old and mathematics obsession

(37 Posts)
waitingforsomething Thu 10-Dec-15 10:19:15

this isn't a stealth boast and I know she's only 3 (nov) but I think my dd might be gifted at maths/space/shape. She is able to count and recognise on paper all numbers to 100 and she can do addition and takeaway with numbers and objects up to 30. She is very able with puzzles and all hers are 100-250 pieces which she does alone without the picture. She also does them upside down and turns them over and does them without the picture. She is actually a little obsessed with all things number and spends a lot of her day counting things, doing maths, trying to tell the time and speed-completing puzzles! She is socially a little shy and doesn't always find it easy to play with other children, and has no interest in drawing, colouring and learning letters although she knows a few. Do I let her get on with this obsession and hope she picks up other things when she's ready or should I be steering her towards other types of learning now?

irvine101 Thu 10-Dec-15 12:42:14

My ds was obsessed with numbers and puzzles, but also obsessed with letters, cutting etc, so I don't know what you should do. Sorry. Hopefully someone with experience comes along.

My ds used to love "colour by number" colouring books, book of numbers and shapes.
He also used to love alphabet puzzles like this one.

www.amazon.co.uk/Alphabet-Jigsaws-alphabet-dinosaur-jigsaw/dp/B00RDC7YXO/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1449749679&sr=8-16&keywords=alphabet+jigsaw+puzzles

Iwantakitchen Thu 10-Dec-15 14:44:00

You should provide an environment rich people in learning opportunities and always make learning of maths part of playing, not a sit down activity separate from the rest. When she starts nursery (or reception) she will have plenty of opportunity to develop social skills and learn through play. You can make leaning of maths part of other activities.

originalmavis Thu 10-Dec-15 14:48:27

Ahhhhh I used to do the jigsaw thing too!

DSs thing was always maths. We got him lots of puzzle books, and there are puzzles like 'road maze' (i think) where kids have puzzkes to work put and 3-d noughts and crosses is fun. Now he enjoys the back page of T2.

He started Kumon when he was about 5 and is million times better at maths than me.

waitingforsomething Thu 10-Dec-15 14:53:45

Aah haha she's going to be better than me in no time!!
it's not something I ever sit down and do with her (apart from I used to do jogsaws with her when she was littler) she's just obsessed all on her own!
I worry because she's been at pre-school since September 3 days 5 hours each. Although she goes she's not very keen and the ladies there say she's lovely/bright/well behaved but does struggle to muck in with the others and would rather be with another adult. She still spends half the time doing puzzles although does like the singing and dancing now. I'm worried about her getting introvert/obsessive as tbh Dh is a bit like this and he takes a lot of encouragement even at. 36!

waitingforsomething Thu 10-Dec-15 14:54:21

What's kimono?

waitingforsomething Thu 10-Dec-15 14:54:36

That was autocorrect! Kumon

mrsmortis Thu 10-Dec-15 15:19:05

I'd let her get on with it. You could be describing my DD2 except I think her driver is to be like her big sister rather than being maths mad in her own right.

If she loves music and dancing and you want to head off potential social issues at the start then you might want to look at some form of extra curricular drama or dance. That's really helped my girls.

catkind Thu 10-Dec-15 16:51:46

I think there's plenty of time in the week to encourage their obsessions as well as encouraging them on other fronts. Preschool will be great for giving her a bit of variation and helping her make friends, I'd stick with it if I was you. And don't think it's anything to worry about at this stage - lots of 3 yr olds are just learning to play together even without the maths thing going on. Preschools are ideally set up to support that.

I know it's thinking a long way ahead, but I think obsessions are good. Obsessions turn into those hobbies that make your life happy, or a career that you love. Obsessiveness is also very normal at 3 - though most kids will pick Frozen or trains or dinosaurs or something!

catkind Thu 10-Dec-15 16:53:48

I wouldn't personally do Kumon for a natural mathematician, it's a lot of drills and worksheets, which they won't really need. You can always do worksheets or workbooks at home if she wants anyway.

originalmavis Thu 10-Dec-15 16:55:11

Kumon is a maths (also English) club where they do a little paper every day (about ten mins) and attend a class once a week. I think there is a komodo maths club too!

It's very good for teaching mental maths and I find its good for kids who are good and those who need help. Each child works at their own level.

Thankfully you can get a parents book with tbe answers.

originalmavis Thu 10-Dec-15 17:00:30

I think it's good to try put a class and see if tbe child likes it.

DS has the maths gene (both sides have amazing maths brains in them - gene slipped me!) And has been doing maths above his age (and mine) for a while. There's no way I could check homework without really trying hard!

irvine101 Thu 10-Dec-15 17:27:12

I wouldn't recommend kumon (Going to class) either. You can buy kumon work books online. It is so much repetition. My ds done some work books, but bored of it half way through. But you never know, your dc may like it.
I would recommend Kumon educational toys though.

irvine101 Thu 10-Dec-15 17:39:24

Actually, Kumon have lots of work books for toddler, things like cutting, maze drawing, colour by numbers, letters and number formation etc., and those were great.

ottothedog Thu 10-Dec-15 17:51:09

I would certainly try lots of social skills things too. Do you have any concerns about it or is she just quiet? She certainly sounds focused smile

waitingforsomething Thu 10-Dec-15 19:32:27

I don't know if I am concerned or if she's normal for 3 (she's my older child) She has some 'best friends' who she plays really nicely with and I have known their mums since she was a baby. In larger settings she is nervous and hangs around adults or plays alone. She doesn't immediately go off to play with toys and she sticks to the side of her key worker if she can. She hates being told off or even thinking that she's going to be told off and she is always worrying about this. She is indeed focussed! I'm trying not to worry but I wonder if social skills are going to be hard for her

PiqueABoo Fri 11-Dec-15 11:45:58

I think it's too early to predict. At that very young age one of the friends was very intimidated by those “larger settings”, whereas DD just jumped in got on with it. They’re both 12 year-olds now and the friend is the socially confident extrovert and DD is the introvert. Everyone expected the opposite outcome.

DD has determined focus so perhaps that is an indicator but despite struggling with small-talk and taking quite a while to relax with new faces, she is a cheerful child who is socially successful with her quiet and hesitant approach.

Time will tell, but given that your DD plays “really nicely” with those close friends now I imagine she’ll be fundamentally OK in the future regardless of personality type.

waitingforsomething Fri 11-Dec-15 12:24:02

Thanks for your reassurances. I suppose obsessive Jigsaw completer and counter plus socially a little awkward does start to ring some (very quiet) alarm bells although I know she's ever so young still. Today she has gone to pre school even though her key worker is not there because I am ill (not a usual day for her). Dh dropped her off and said she seemed out another little girl and stood near her playing so that's something...!

blytheandsebastian Fri 11-Dec-15 13:06:09

She sounds delightful and ever so clever. I would just take it that she is shy, as many of us are, and her brain happens to love exploring numbers are the moment. I would go with it, since she will go with it no matter what you do and should be affirmed for who she is right now. But I'd also offer lots of other things to get enthusiastic about too - possibly even hiding some maths in other activities too so she feels some ownership of a wide range of activities. There can be lots of maths in baking and some in music (counting out the bars, counting out notes, notes in a scale) and the possibility for shapes and design in art is endless (obviously) smile

waitingforsomething Fri 11-Dec-15 13:49:34

Great ideas Blythe, thank you. She does like to help with cook

waitingforsomething Fri 11-Dec-15 13:50:39

Sorry, cooking because she can count the bits of onion or measure the flour etc so this is something I try and do with her. I'll see if I can hide it in other activities to broaden her interests!

blytheandsebastian Fri 11-Dec-15 19:58:16

She might love bits of technology too - my four year old DD is a little like this and loves seeing how things work. Also traditionally 'boyish' activities that involve construction or screwdrivers - and meticulously replacing things afterwards smile

Cressandra Sat 12-Dec-15 22:36:52

She sounds a bit like my maths obsessed boy. His latest thing is playing clock patience upside down, because he feels the card values are superfluous to the game.

How is her speech and understanding? I think my DS tends to hide in things he can do perfectly. Puzzles are ideal, perfection is always attainable. Much less scary than trying to pronounce a new word and risk someone not understanding, or drawing or writing something that isn't perfect! If I had my time over again with him at 3 I would push the communication harder and maybe do more outside with him. The maths side doesn't need pushing IMO. There are numbers and patterns everywhere. DS loved page numbers and indexes. She might enjoy a complex set of things to categorise and sort, such as lots of different buttons. I don't think you need to steer her away from maths, but I do think it's important to encourage open ended play and communication, whether that is with you or other children, and to steer away from feeding perfectionism, which can show up as liking for puzzles and worksheets and dislike of drawing etc. Model making mistakes, send her to forest school where things aren't so precise and ordered. But my experience is limited to one specific child and he's only 6...

waitingforsomething Sun 13-Dec-15 08:48:10

Hi cressandra: her sppech and lamguage are excellent. Her pre-school put her at secure in the 40-60 month category so she's not falling down here. What she won't do is:
Drawing with any meaning
Colouring in
Socialising in bigger groups
Practise letters/meaningful pen strokes

This is I think because she can't do it well, so yes a hint of perfectionism! I will look into forest school that sounds fun and good for her

Cressandra Sun 13-Dec-15 15:12:04

In that case I wouldn't overthink it. She is 3! 3 year olds aren't expected to be writing anything at all. Our nursery really encouraged building gross motor strength - digging with spades etc - it's meant to help towards finer control later. Playing alongside is also completely normal at 3.

On the ASD thread someone made the point that creative play/work is particularly favoured in the UK. it's an interesting angle that hadn't occurred to me before. Montessori was more interested in purposeful activity than make believe.

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