Kumon – ‘My First Book Of’ Series

Summary: Like the First Steps series, some hits and some misses. We love the cutting/pasting/craft path, apparently miss the point of the colouring path, enjoy some of the maze books, and skip over their more academic books in favour of other curriculum.

USD $7.95 each from Amazon (affiliate links at the bottom of this post)
USD $5.95 each from Rainbow Resources
Approx AUD $12.00 each from Book Depository

 

The Kumon Books are well known for their very gradual progression through skill development, giving the child confidence and making the skills easy to learn. While we prefer to leave maths and writing topics for other subjects, the motor skill and basic skills books are still very popular here. I have only used the tracing books, and Aqua, Pink and Yellow paths from the chart above, so these are the only ones I’ll comment on. One thing I will say for all of the Kumon books is that the quality of the paper used is outstanding and very helpful. Cutting and craft books use good quality cardstock, colouring uses nice thick paper. These pages wont tear until a toddlers pencil, the cutting pages wont rip as a child manipulates them, and the craft projects actually have a little longevity and will hold their shape.

Tracing

Books in the Strand
My First Book Of Tracing
My Book of Amazing Tracing

The tracing books are a great start for pencil control, and for mazes. They start with simple straight lines, connecting one to the other, and gradually introduce more complex designs and thinner lines. Each page is double-sided, making 80 activities. I think these are a great start before handwriting, to learn how to control a pencil in a fun way. While the earlier ‘train your hand’ series does do curves and complex lines, we treat that one fairly casually as an introduction and some fun. These books are when we first begin to take it a bit more seriously.

 

Colouring/Drawing

Books in the Strand
My Book of Coloring
My Book of Coloring: At the Zoo
My First Book of Drawing

The colouring books start with a picture and a blank space to colour, the bold colours around it helping to hide colouring outside the lines, giving the child a sense of achievement for ‘finishing the picture’. It does move on to colouring parts of the picture instead of shapes. Then, the drawing book takes a new tact, teaching children how to create images step-by-step.

Again, the point of the Kumon colouring books is lost on my daughters. I understand their usefulness for hesitant colour-ers, kids who find a blank page overwhelming, or little boys with not much interest in colouring pages. But on my daughters, they just serve no purpose. These kids colour daily. So we skip these books in the series, though I admit I would definitely consider them for a little boy or a child less interested in colouring.

Now, the drawing book on the other hand, THAT is very nice, especially since we intend to go on to Draw Write Now later on. The reccomended ages on the drawing book are 3-4-5, however, my perfectionist little girls ended up crying over the book one too many times, because their pictures weren’t ‘good enough’. So we decided to save this for later, and will probably use it  around the year they turn 5. Unlike other Kumon books, it never really gets ‘too easy’, even adults could have fun with some of the drawing examples they use.

 

Cutting/Pasting/Craft

Books in the Strand
My First Book Of Cutting
My Book Of Pasting
My Book of Pasting: Jigsaw Puzzles
My Book Of Easy Crafts
My Book of Amazing Crafts

This strand goes from quite easy skills to difficult ones over the course of the books. By the time our kids start the cutting book they’re already quite accustomed to cutting from the First Steps series, but even they find some of these to get a little challenging. Then we see them cutting out their own pieces and gluing them, first in simple activities, then in jigsaws. before we combine these with folding to make crafts! They’re very well designed, and again I have to comment on the quality of the paper making these so much more successful for little hands. We use this series right through and love it.

 

 Mazes

Books in the Strand
My Book of Easy Mazes
My First Book Of Mazes
Amazing Mazes
My Book of Mazes: Around the World
My Book of Mazes: Animals
My Book of Mazes: Things That Go!

These maze books are lovely, with nice bold lines and a good learning curve. The Easy Mazes book is perfect for introducing the concept of a maze, which is a gap in many maze books. However, for the price, I don’t think any of the later ones are really worth the extra price over any old maze book. We only purchase the Book of Easy Mazes from Kumon, and progress to other things after that

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