NumbersAlive! Debuts Internationally at Toy Fairs in Germany, NYC; Plush Numbers with Personality, Travel/Activity Books, Games Counter 'Fear of Math' from Early Age

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Numerical literacy program based on 'fun and friendly' number characters takes vibrant toys and more to world's largest toy fair in Nuremberg, then to New York City for America's largest toy fair. Toys are focused on developing critical math education.

A seven-year-old playing with the various sizes of plush numbers.

...we have to start much earlier—as early as the crib—to cultivate a love of numbers...

The Washington, DC-based NumbersAlive!, a unique pre-K-12 coordinated suite of award-winning playful plush toys, travel books with educational activities, and games to improve numerical literacy, debuts internationally at two huge toy fairs.

NumbersAlive! travels first to Nuremberg, Germany, for the Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair, the world's leading toy fair, Jan. 30-Feb. 4, and next to New York City for the American International Toy Fair Feb. 10-13 organized by the Toy Industry Association. Products on display in the USA Pavilion and Booth 2280 respectively: huggable, colorful, plush 0-9 numbers in three sizes with faces, feet, movable arms, and personalities derived from their historical and cultural roots; multilingual “World of Numbers” poster including Braille and sign language; Books for Young Travelers; STEM Squad advanced plush—pi, phi, infinity with LED eyes and imaginary unit; Polygon Puzzle at three levels of difficulty; children's clothing; novelty birthday/special occasion customizable sashes for numbers.

The NumbersAlive! debut is particularly significant in light of two things: the need to attract students to STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) and fill critical business jobs in those fields with many lucrative but unfilled skilled positions, and a new study indicating that anticipation of doing math problems lights up pain networks in the brain for people with high levels of math anxiety (reported Nov. 2 by CBSNews/Live Science) .

"It's clear we have to start much earlier—as early as the crib—to cultivate a love of numbers and build a needed STEM foundation well before adults inadvertently pass on a fear of math to children," urges Dr. Rebecca Klemm, a businesswoman, statistician, former high school and college educator (Georgetown University School of Business), and founder of NumbersAlive!.

Dr. Klemm’s solution: multidisciplinary, hands-on early learning starting with huggable, colorful, tactile, plush numbers. Children are encouraged to "hug a number" and see numbers in their daily lives so that they become “friends you can count on.” The coordinated NumbersAlive! products develop creativity and inquiry skills as children encounter numerical linkages in shapes, quantities, patterns, names, and order—the building blocks of mathematical and scientific thinking.

“We have to make math meaningful to their lives and fun when kids are young," emphasizes Dr. Klemm. "We can capture the interest of more kids with an interdisciplinary approach by making connections between numbers and global art, sports, history, geography, and culture. With pattern recognition and problem solving skills learned through meaningful relationships, children will be ready to tackle algebra and geometry in middle school.”

A born storyteller, Dr. Klemm—also called "The Numbers Lady" in her whimsical red hat and robe—specializes in explaining mathematical concepts in everyday language, whether piloting NumbersAlive! in libraries, elementary schools, and Boys and Girls Clubs or testifying before juries as CEO of Klemm Analysis Group, a statistical analysis and expert witness firm.

"Kids are creative, inventive explorers. Our product line will grow with the child for lifelong learning," says Dr. Klemm. This summer, NumbersAlive! is rolling out more books where the playful plush numbers are characters, including the Hello Numbers board book and Numbers Help the World Go ‘Round hardcover; and Polygon Puzzle with three levels of difficulty. Interactive books for tablets and electronics are slated for a late 2013-2014 release.

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