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Wooden Abacus By Melissa & Doug

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Now, you might be thinking, “What use would I have for an abacus in this age? There are plenty of math programs out there to help my kid learn about counting that are much more convenient than this wooden frame.” In a sense, you’d be right, since apps can be taken anywhere and are convenient, but I’ve yet to see one that can teach negotiation, diplomacy, and arbitrage the way an abacus can.

The real value of the wooden abacus comes from its history. For centuries, merchants the world over utilized the abacus for all of their retailing needs. Trades were offered, deals were brokered, and sprawling merchant guilds were established, as people across entire nations used the abacus in their trade. Use of the tool spanned until the advancement of technology, but if you’re lucky, you can still find one in classrooms today, proving its usefulness despite modern computing.

With the right planning and motivation, the abacus can be used to teach your child about fairness, proper conversational etiquette, business sense, and history. This one even features different colored beads, for learning about pattern recognition. Try doing all that with a math learning app.

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