How Tre Became the MATH IN THE MAIL Turtle!

Tre the turtle never paid much attention to the mail. Then one day, his mom said “Tre, you have mail!” She handed him a white box with his name on the front of it. He opened the box and found a book and toy dinosaurs inside. 

Tre was so excited to play with the dinosaurs! He counted them, and sorted them, and made patterns with them – and then did it all over again. He asked everyone he knew to read the 1-2-3 Dinosaurs Bite! book with him. Tre’s mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, older sister, uncle, and even the next door neighbor read the book with him enough times to have it memorized. 

Tre began counting the bites he took to eat his lunch each day, using his imagination to see them just like the dinosaur bites in the book. He added some zoo animal toys in with the dinosaur toys and sorted them, making patterns with the new mixture of creatures. Tre found new things to pattern, sort and count everywhere he looked! And then another white box came in the mail with Tre’s name on it…

By the time Tre had received all six of his Math in the Mail kits, he was counting and sorting every group of items he came across, and making patterns at every turn. He had developed such a love of math play that he began to share it with his younger sister and cousins. When his preschool teacher asked what he’d like to be when he grows up, Tre responded “I think I might be a mail carrier, ‘cuz then I can bring Math in the Mail to more kids!”

Tre and his family did not realize it at the time, but the Math in the Mail kits Tre received were introducing foundational math concepts through play. Tre was falling in love with math at his young age because the kits made math fun for him. Everyone gets excited when a package arrives in the mail with their name on it. “I love seeing my kids explode with excitement when our Math in the Mail arrives!” said a parent whose son received Math in the Mail during its first year. “It has gotten them very excited about math.”

To help parents and caregivers support children in their early math learning, a set of cards with ideas for activities and information on how the activities help their child build their early math skills are included in each Math in the Mail kit. A web page with extension activities and additional resources for each kit is made available on the program’s website,

Qualifying families receive a FREE kit in the mail, six times per year, which contain materials, resources, and instructions for several age-appropriate math activities. Currently, qualifying children from Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, and Saginaw counties can receive Math in the Mail for free. To enroll, families should visit, or call 989-399-7415. Enrollment is ongoing.  

To qualify for the FREE program, families must:

A subscription option is also available for families who do not qualify for the grant funded program or who live outside the Great Lakes Bay Region. 

Families can also follow Math in the Mail on social media to gain information and ideas that will help them strengthen their child’s preschool math skills.

Facebook – Math in the Mail

Pinterest – Math in the Mail

Twitter – @MathintheMail

YouTube –  Math in the Mail

By Lindsay Bryce, Math in the Mail Coordinator