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Kumon Books with a Personal Twist

Every since I saw those Kumon books at MPH, I’ve been rather keen to get them for Gavin.  Unfortunately, the couple of times I asked Gavin if he wanted them, he said, “No.”  Not surprisingly since there was nothing about Thomas or Little Einsteins in them.  Having realised that asking Gavin if he wants to buy something is not really a reliable method of gauging his interest in them, I decided to try out a little personal test…

I made my own Kumon activities based on what I saw in the Kumon books I flicked through on colouring, numbers and mazes.

Here’s what I did:

I drew a few outlines of Thomas and Friends Engines – James, Thomas, Percy, Molly, Gordon and Henry.  I should add that the following pictures were taken after Gavin had “completed” the activities, hence all the scribbles and additional markings.  I’m afraid I left him to his own devices after we were done and he decided to add some extra colour to it.

Any mother who has a child that is crazy about Thomas and Friends will know that most of the engines are associated with a specific number.  I left those numbers off so that I could help Gavin write them in.  In the first activity, I guided his hand as we wrote the numbers, added the “coal”, “steam” and “railway tracks”.  I also showed him how to colour in James (the red engine).  Then I asked him to colour the rest of the engines in himself – which he did.


I helped him to write in the numbers for Gordon and Henry and asked him to colour in and draw the “coal”, “steam” and “railway tracks” on his own.


In the third activity, I had drawn a maze with Edward at one end and Knapford Station at the other.  I then asked him to help me get Edward to Knapford Station.  I guided his hand through the maze and stopped to ask him where to go whenever we came to a fork in the maze.


What was the verdict?

Gavin was nuts about this book.  He kept telling me he wanted his “Thomas” book and he was eager to be guided to draw more trains, write numbers and even spell out the names of the engines.

I was encouraged.  So I bought him My First Book of Mazes, My First Book of Uppercase Letters, My First Book of Cutting and More Let’s Fold (Let’s Fold was out of stock).

Mazes Uppercase Letters Cutting Lets Fold

I figured that he would enjoy cutting because he would get to use the scissors – a new instrument that he has never before been allowed to play with.  I also thought he would enjoy folding because he was really eager to help out when I was folding paper cranes for Chinese New Year.  He would take my coloured squares of paper and try to mimic me as I made the cranes.

I figured that if he wasn’t interested in the book of Mazes and Uppercase Letters, then I could always add pictures of Thomas and his other engine friends to create some interest.  I’m glad to say that he’s taken to the books really well and none of that has been necessary.

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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