Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers

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Playing With Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers brings together the stories of over thirty authors who share their math enthusiasm with their communities, families, or students. After every chapter is a puzzle, game, or activity to get you and your kids playing with math too.

372 pages. ISBN 978-0-9776939-3-1

Beautiful paperback for your learning library – $28. SALE $22 It comes with ePub, Kindle, and PDF files of the book.

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Electronic book for all your devices – $8.You get ePub, Kindle, and PDF files of the book, DRM-free.

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Mathematics works so much better with others! Buy together with friends, your class, math circle, or fundraiser – or treat yourself to a bundle of titles. You save on book price and shipping.

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Math Circles
Julia and Maria conduct math circles with young children. Jamylle creates a math circle for African American middle-school students. Bob and Ellen take their math circle into a prison. Colleen discovers the power of games at her after-school math center. Sue opens her home up for families to play with math. Nancy creates a math festival.

Julie learns from her kids how differently each child learns math. Jimmie hesitantly dips her toe in the water, and moves her daughter toward a living math approach. Tiff, the math hater, discovers beauty in math.

Passionate Teachers
Michelle teaches math with the help of three-toed dinosaurs, while Friedrich gets his help from vampires. Pilar begs parents to let their kids discover mathematical truths without being shown our grown-up shortcuts too quickly.

Who’s this book for?

Parents, grandparents, teachers, math enthusiasts, math-haters who don’t want to pass their affliction on, … Everyone! Thoughtful stories, puzzles, games, and activities will give you new insights. Join us—we’re playing with math!

Quotes praising the book

Mathematics is a creative activity, like music. It requires some technique, and the technique has to be taught, but the main point is elsewhere—it is all about creativity, a sense of enjoyment, and higher purpose. This book goes a long way in that direction.

—Ivar Ekeland, author of The Cat in Numberland

Sue VanHattum has assembled a marvelously useful and inspiring book. It is filled with stories by people who don’t just love math, they share that love with others through innovative math activities. Playing with Math is perfect for anyone eager to make math absorbing, entertaining, and fun.

—Laura Grace Weldon, author of Free Range Learning

The Internet is presently bursting with vibrant writing about mathematics learning; yet it can be difficult to navigate this wealth of resources. Sue VanHattum has carefully collected and arranged some of the best of this writing. Imagine having a cheerful, knowledgeable, caring, and patient native interpreter accompany you on a tour of a foreign land. That’s Sue in the land of math. She and the authors collected here care deeply about welcoming everyone to the world of mathematics. Whether you play with math every day, or are struggling to believe that one can play with math, Playing with Math will provide inspiration, ideas, and joy.

—Christopher Danielson, author of Talking Math with Your Kids

As a homeschool mom who grew up hating math, I didn’t want to pass that attitude on to my children.  I thought if I bought a textbook and relearned it, I would somehow learn to enjoy it.   That didn’t seem to help.  Then I read Playing with Math and discovered that math isn’t what you find in a textbook at all.  It’s all around us, it’s beautiful, and most of all, it’s exciting!  This book is a gem that I turn to again and again for fun and inspiration.

—Shalynn Wilson, mom

About the editor

As a community college mathematics teacher, math circle leader, and blogger, Sue VanHattum shares the love of math with as many people as she can. Sue blogs at Math Mama Writes, maintains the website, and tries to stay connected with hundreds of great math teachers online. Sue is a single mom, raising her son and lots of chickens. When this book project is done, she hopes to get back to gardening and biking.


9 comments on “Playing with Math: Stories from Math Circles, Homeschoolers, and Passionate Teachers
  1. From page 103
    “. . . I was hungry for knowledge. Ironically, as much as I hated and despised mathematics at that point in my life, I was so ready, so open to discovering what I was missing. I wanted to get math.”

    I’m enjoying my copy of “Playing with Math.” I, myself, came around to the beauty and intrigue of math late in life. It was during training for Montessori teacher credentials (ages 3-6) that I found the Montessori math manipulatives fixating and alluring. Many, in training at the same time as I, shared their wishes that they had been taught math “that way.”
    At any rate, it always feels great when you find connections made of excellence regardless of “brand” or philosophy.

    In the spirit of “Who’s this book for? – Parents, grandparents, teachers, math enthusiasts, math-haters who don’t want to pass their affliction on, … Everyone!” I share my own passion for numbers. My site is free but for some affiliate links.

  2. Kavi Ram says:

    Thank you for making such books based on Math available to parents and educators. I love Math and so do my kids.

    • MariaD says:

      Kavi, glad our books are helpful for your family! Drop us a note about your adventures at any time. What do you do with children? How do you change the activities for them? We always love to hear stories!

  3. Shannan Fuller says:

    How can I get the task cards and directions for the tarp activities and large match stick puzzles?

  4. Sue VanHattum says:

    Shannon, Which book are the ‘tarp activities’ in, and which page? Ditto for the ‘large match stick puzzles’.

  5. Julie says:

    What ages is this book geared towards ?

    • MariaD says:


      The book is for parents and teachers of children of all ages. Different chapters tell stories about different-age learners, from toddlers to grown-ups.

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