About this project
We've made our goal! Thanks for your support!
- Help us raise $25,000, and we'll create three more Tiny Polka Dot games, for a total of 15. MADE IT!
- Get us to $30,000, and we'll create another three games, for a total of 18.
Tiny Polka Dot is a collection of mathematical games for 3 to 8 year-olds, packed into one colorful card deck. It is:
- Easy and intuitive to learn
- Incredibly fun to play
- A joy for families
- Invaluable for teachers
- Mathematically rich and relevant
The games you can play with the Tiny Polka Dot deck develop with your child, allowing you to find the right game for them, whether they are just learning how to count, working on memorizing addition and subtraction facts, or exploring deeper number patterns.
Why Us? Why Tiny Polka Dot?
In spring of 2014, we launched our first board game on Kickstarter and successfully funded Prime Climb, which won six awards and received rave reviews from fans and critics. It is now on its fifth printing.
Spreading the love of math is what we do, and after Prime Climb, we saw the need for an equally compelling math game for younger kids. We had already been exploring a suite of games that could be used with a standard card deck; after conversations with Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade teachers, we decided that a more thoughtfully-designed deck would have major advantages in playability, math learning, and fun. Tiny Polka Dot was born!
Tiny Polka Dot comes with instructions for twelve different games to play with kids of different ages. These games evolved from games we invented and adapted for our pre-K - 2nd grade curriculum. The games were so popular and so effective, we realized we needed to make them available to everyone.
The Tiny Polka Dot Card Deck
Tiny Polka Dot cards come in six suits, each with eleven cards representing the numbers from 0 to 10. Each suit uses a different representation. These are Ten Frames, Big and Little Dots, Circles, Doubles Plus One, Numerals, and Dice Patterns.
The Tiny Polka Dot Games
Tiny Polka Dot comes with 12 different games, designed to support kids as they develop flexibility, competence, and a love of numbers.
For example, three year-olds begin with Hungry Numbers, a game of feeding dot cards to their corresponding numerals, and Match the Dots, where pairs are matched if they have the same number, no matter how different they might look.
Five year-olds play Dot Memory, looking for matching numbers among face down cards. Seven year-olds play Polka Dot Tens, looking for pairs of numbers that add to ten among face down cards, or 15 Supreme, where they put together strings of cards to reach 15.
Our games are just the beginning. If you've got a favorite card game—crazy eights, go fish, etc.—chances are you can play it with the Tiny Polka Dot deck. The families who play-tested Tiny Polka Dot at home have told us how they and their kids invented their own games and house rules. Classic games are that much more mathematically dynamic when you play them with Tiny Polka Dot cards.
Tiny Polka Dot Educational Philosophy
Playing Tiny Polka Dot teaches kids fundamentals of early mathematics, including
counting & cardinality
The cornerstone for early learning of math and number.
conservation of number
"Children who do not have conservation of numbers are not ready for addition and subtraction and do not understand what they are doing when they drill addition and subtraction facts at home. Put the addition and subtraction worksheets away and if you wish to do math with your child talk about numbers in a concrete way."
"A foundational math skill for preschoolers. It can take months or even an entire year for preschoolers to master this skill. For this reason it is important to provide your students with plenty of opportunities to practice one-to-one all year long."
subitizing (i.e. instant number recognition)
"Subitizing is a fundamental skill in the development of students’ understanding of number"
addition & subtraction
"Children’s enthusiasm for such games cannot be overestimated; very often when working with first and second graders, we have found students reluctant to stop playing when time is up!"
Beyond those fundamentals, the most important thing we wanted to teach is that math is play. Tiny Polka Dot lets counting and arithmetic be part of a game you play with the people you care about. One of the most important things parents can do to help their young children develop in mathematics is to spend time with them playing games and sharing how joyful math can be.
With each set of cards, we include a Guide For Grown-ups to help with how to approach playing math with your child. A version of the guide is below to help you get a sense of the philosophy behind the game.
Guide for Grown-ups
1. Learning takes time! The process of learning and mastering a new skill can be slow and complex. This is not a test. Do not to rush your child or expect them to know something after they have seen it once or twice. You may find a child makes the same mistake over and over again. As long as they are having fun, trust that your child is learning! Be patient and stay flexible.
2. Think out loud. The best way to help your child is to slow down during your turn, count clearly, and describe what’s happening in your head. When you say, “That’s a two. I need an eight to make a match. Now where was there an eight…?” you’re helping them see how to think.
3. Follow their lead. For each variation you play, let the kids show you if it is right for them. Most kids will enjoy starting with a game that is easy for them. It’s fun to be successful! If a game becomes too easy, you can move on to a more advanced game. On the other hand, if a game is too hard, the kids will likely lose focus, or want to stop. That’s a sign you need to move to a simpler version.
4. Use your fingers. If you find your child is having a hard time organizing their counting strategies for large numbers of dots, or for the dots in tricky arrangements, show them how to place a finger on the first dot they count so they can keep track of where they started. For young children, demonstrate counting and touching a dot, involving them in the counting. You may need to count together several times before they count correctly.
5. Help less. It’s easy to over-help. Make sure you are letting your child take as active a role in the game as possible. Try making neutral observations and asking them questions. Rather than say “That’s a three. You need to find a two to make five,” say “You flipped over a three. What do you need next?”
6. Play! Play is the engine of learning for young children. Winning might be irrelevant to some kids, and games can be played collaboratively. Keep the game light and fun, and have fun yourself!
- 66 Tiny Polka Dot Cards in six suits
- Instructions for 12 Tiny Polka Dot Games
- Guide for Grown-ups for playing math with young kids
- $1 - Follow the campaign!
- $10 - Tiny Polka Dot Print & Play*
- $15 - Get Tiny Polka Dot!
- $28 - Tiny Polka Dot 2-pack! (Save $2)
- $40 - Tiny Polka Dot 3-pack! (Save $5)
- $40 - NEW! Tiny Polka Dot + Prime Climb! (Save $10)**
- $65 - Tiny Polka Dot 5-pack! (Save $10)
- $125 - Tiny Polka Dot 10-pack! (Save $25)
Shipping is free in the US. Extra shipping costs apply outside the US.
*You can also get the Print & Play by adding $5 more to any pledge level over $15.
**Inside the US, add $25 to any pledge of $15 or higher to include Prime Climb, the award-winning, beautiful, colorful, mathematical game.
**Outside the US, add $45 to any pledge of $15 or higher to include Prime Climb.
We are Katherine Cook and Daniel Finkel, the folks behind Math For Love, a math education company based in Seattle, Washington. We lead professional development for teachers, design curriculum, develop math games, and speak & write on math education.
From the Playtesters
- "Fun and easy to play for even a 4 year old… I love it!"
- "Very impressive."
- "Love it! Particularly:
-opportunity to customize to where the child is in their development
-variety of cards and colors"
- "My child doesn't play board games much but this held his interest for 30 minutes"
- "A creative way to play number games without numbers."
- "I really liked Polka Dot Tens. I could see us playing that in all its variations to practice adding and subtracting."
- "Great colors. I love the different arrangements. Super accessible to young kids."
- "Build basic math foundations with fun!"
Risks and challenges
We successfully delivered on our previous Kickstarter project, and we're confident that we'll get Tiny Polka Dot out in time for the holidays. We are using a manufacturer we have a long-standing relationship with, who still produces our Kickstarted board game Prime Climb (now in it's fifth printing). We already have manufacturing, distribution, and warehousing in place. Everything is made in the US, which minimizes the chances of unwelcome surprises.
In other words, we're on top of it.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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