My daughter has been a fan of the Scholastic Reading Club flyers since preschool. She's now in kindergarten, and in addition to using the flyers for selecting books, I've started using them to get her a bit of practice with additional and division and general money sense. This has been a gradual process. Our iteration has gone something like this:
- I just chose for her. (Preschool)
- I let her go through and circle everything that caught her eye, and then I still chose which ones to order. (Start of kindergarten)
- I asked her to put stars on her top 3. I ordered mainly those, with a couple of extras that I would pick. (A couple of months into kindergarten)
- I started pushing back when she would pick things that were expensive (like a fossil excavation kit). She would then offer to pay, out of her allowance, for things that I wasn't willing to pay for.
This month she picked her three items, and I pushed back a bit because two of them were relatively pricy (e.g. Dig it Up: Lots of Rocks for $10). She suggested that she pay for half of the order and I pay for half. I said ok, and then she went through and added up the total cost of the items that she wanted, and then (with a little help) divided the total in two. Then she counted out the money from her "spend" box. She ended up selecting four items costing a total of $30, for which she paid me $15 (there was some birthday money involved). I then quietly added two paperbacks that I thought were both a good deal - I don't think that she will notice by the time the order arrives.
Bottom line is that my child is very interested in what books (and other things) she's going to be able to get from the Scholastic flyer. This makes her eager to do the math, if that's what it takes to get to what she wants. So here I am showing her that math is useful, and giving her a bit of light-hearted practice. It's just a matter of keeping one's eye open for these types of opportunities.