One of my very favorites was a scarf my eighteen year old niece knitted for my seven-year-old daughter. Can you see the math? It's a Moebius scarf!!! I love the idea of having infinity around my neck and hope my niece remembers that I have a birthday coming up...
Another of my favorite math-y gifts was something unintentionally so. These are some doll house pots and pans and table settings I gave my daughter. As we were eating breakfast we arranged them and that's when I noticed something..
"Look!" I said, "each pot has one lid and there are four pots in all. How many pieces all together? [I modeled skip counting by 2s] And the table settings! Each set has four pieces. How many pieces all together?"
Despite a facility with skip counting and good grasp of groupings and even certain multiplication facts, the child was still skeptical. She insisted (and has been insisting) on checking my work by counting by 1s. I still thought this was an excellent present for math, though, especially because it highlighted her thinking so clearly. Good thing I have Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream on the bookshelf (you know, the girl who is great at counting and doesn't want to learn multiplication until things get too numerous and hard to count by 1s).
I pulled it out the day after we beat the blizzard home from Ohio as a sort of after-Christmas gift. The girl started to do a card, pictured below, and, again, it was very interesting to observe her thinking, especially how she went about putting it together. My eye goes immediately to the center and I would have built outward; she started with the top left corner and built across.
Eventually though, the tired girl eschewed all patterns and decided to do her own thing and I worked on my own card.
Here are my favorite pattern cards so far. The top row is a nice study of growing shapes (algebra!), the middle and bottom rows are just totally cool (the yellow mixes in with the pink -- use your light orange shapes!) and look at all that negative space!
Here's some math we gave instead of received. I've already written about these mathematical star ornaments, but the reason we made them was to give as presents to all our friends. The ones below are mine, but my daughter made over 40 of her own (in a different color theme). I also made our holiday cards out little paper squares folded and then transformed by scissors as detailed in a post from the summer called Transformation.
The Kaleidograph Toy (Flora and Crystal) were supposed to be mine, but who am I to argue if the kid wants to use them too?!
And then there's the moment all the math stars aligned just right and the book on Roman mosaics arrived just when I needed it.
All told, a very math-y holiday, indeed! And, here are best wishes for a very Happy & Math-y New Year, a little early, to all my readers!