Updated: May 31, 2020
Hello everybody! I've been super busy because we have finals next week, so I have to keep this post brief, but I thought I'd write something about the holidays. I'm simply going to give you some quick links to the best gift ideas I've found, so you can ask for them and/or give them for Christmas or whatever holiday you might celebrate.
Here is a great list of mathematical board games!
I think one of the best ways to learn math is to explore it. As a kid, I especially loved a dice game simply called Math Dice and a board game called Prime Climb (though I didn't play that one as much). Set is also a classic, where you try to find groups of three cards that meet certain criteria. Honestly, any game can be mathematical, as you can explore the probabilities behind certain strategies and methods, so keep playing!
Check out some puzzles!
Tangrams, Sudoku, Kakuro and Ken-Ken were some of my favorites growing up.
The classic 15 puzzle is a great choice, and so is a Rubik's Cube (and its many variants).
I also love Kataminos.
Even try some magic while you're at it. I absolutely loved magic tricks as a kid. Any magic kit would be a great gift. In fact, here's a book on magic and math that goes into even more depth: Magical Mathematics by Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham, written by two famous mathematicians.
Another great gift is a math book.
If you go into my resources section, I have plenty of suggestions that I absolutely love:
I'll point a couple of my favorites: The first book I got as a gift was Go Figure and its sequel Why Pi?, both of which are geared towards older elementary schoolers, and both totally ignited my passion for math through the most creative explorations of the subject. I also love How to Be a Math Genius. For high schoolers and high-achieving middle schoolers, a couple of my favorite longer math books are Here's Looking at Euclid, Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension, and How to Bake Pi. Martin Gardner is one of the most famous mathematical authors, so check out his work too!
(I also have some competition prep themed books in the resources tabs if you're into that kind of thing.)
Here's a list of picture books for younger children that specifically focus on female mathematicians, giving girls inspiring role models.
I checked out Nothing Stopped Sophie out of the library recently, and it's an absolutely delightful book for that age group.
Why not get a math shirt?
People think I'm crazy when I tell them I have 30+ math-themed t-shirts (many from competitions but others just for fun), but I honestly think it's so neat to own your love of math by wearing it!
Numberphile has many great ones:
And there are so many great puns if you simply search "math shirt" on Amazon or any other online store!
One of my favorites was an apple pi shirt (it simply had an apple with a pi symbol on it like this one) that I wore to every single tournament throughout middle school. It was practically my math team uniform!
If you're willing to spend a little more money, a new calculator is always a wonderful gift. (I think the TI-84 Plus CE is the most worthwhile investment because it's the best calculator you can get that's always approved for any standardized test you'll take.)
Getting a Wolfram Alpha subscription to Mathematica is also something I've really enjoyed. Mathematica is a software that allows students to explore math on their own time through a powerful computer language. I don't know as much about this as I probably should, so I'll give you this link to read more about it: https://www.wolfram.com/mathematica/ This is definitely not for everyone, but if you're into computer science and math, it's a super cool thing to have.
Last but certainly not least, I absolutely love all of Art of Problem Solving's classes. The teachers are amazing and supportive, and the math they teach goes way beyond anything taught in school, giving you a glimpse of what makes math so creative and limitless. I take their highest math class, WOOT (Worldwide Online Olympiad Training), and it's been such a great investment, and my friends that take other AoPS classes have loved it too. These classes span age groups from elementary schoolers up to high schoolers, and for high schoolers, their AMC prep classes are a great way to prepare for those exams. They can, however, be pretty expensive. Here's their link: https://artofproblemsolving.com/school/recommendations
I'll leave you with a couple more links for math gifts:
That about concludes my article for this week! Feel free to send me any questions in the comments and have a great time searching for a mathy gift this season!