The suggestions below are for the typical gifted child taking the Kindergarten level of the NNAT® (Naglieri Non-Verbal Ability Test®) as a preschooler. The lowest level of the NNAT® was developed for Kindergarten age children. If your child is being tested for entrance to Kindergarten they won't be expected to do as well on the Naglieri Test as a Kindergarten child would with the same questions ie. the same raw score will give a higher percentile ranking, but there will be plenty of room for them to demonstrate superior ability by answering questions that will be difficult for most of their peers.
This means that you, as parent, will need to make some judgements as to the level of material to get your child. Children at this age are learning fast and learning in different areas at different speeds. You may have a highly verbal child who doesn't really enjoy doing puzzles or building with legos. For this child you'd probably want to start with the easier material here and build skills gradually. At the other extreme you may have a child who lives inside their head and spends all the time they can creating things out of blocks and pulling things apart to see how they work. With a child like this you can go directly to the higher level material.
Building Thinking Skills is our number one recommendation. Hands on Thinking Skills has material at the level an average K-1 child will be doing. Your highly capable 4 year old should be ready for this and may even be beyond it. The title requires manipulative blocks to complete the exercises. Children at this age frequently need to handle physical objects as they develop the ability to visualize. The next level up is called Building Thinking Skills Level 1. The grade designation is Gr 2-3 but we've been selling this to parents of bright 4 year olds for many years. Chances are that if your child has a parent who has found this page, and is reading it, that they also have a parent who is involved with their education and who is teaching them about color and size and shape and making comparisons without consciously thinking about it. Building Thinking Skills Level 1 is not a book for a young child to do independently. You'll probably need to read the questions to them and record their answers.
Building Thinking Skills has questions on pattern completion, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and spatial visualization. That's what the NNAT® tests for.
We also highly recommend the LUK learning system
. LUK comes in 3 different levels and again you have a choice. For typical children Bambino
is suggested for use from age 3 to 5, miniLUK
from age 5-7 and miniLUK
Advance from age 6-8. Many highly capable 4 year olds can go directly to miniLUK. Many would enjoy Bambino too. Some are ready for the Advance level.
If you've got younger children in the household we can't recommend LUK more highly. Unlike workbooks it is not consumed in use so your children will get years of play from it. LUK has been a best seller in Europe for over 30 years. It plays like a toy but it is a very powerful teacher. It is self-directing so once a child understands the system they can use it completely independently. If you're a parent who likes software so that your young child can work independently LUK will suit you.
The LUK Learning Systems have questions on pattern completion, reasoning by analogy, serial reasoning and spatial visualization.
Visual Perceptual Skill Building teaches a child how to really perceive what they see. It's one of the skills you need to understand what the NNAT® questions are asking of you. There is a choice of book or software. The book is printed in black and white. The software contains a pdf file of the same book in color and black and white options. Many of the exercises can be done on the computer and color adds an extra layer of challenge. Please be aware that the cd contains pdf files of the book in black and white and color. It is not a computer game for a child to play independently. They'll need you to confirm their answers. Some of the pages will need to be printed to be used, e.g. simple mazes.
Young children are often very hands-on learners. The following books and games have ample hands-on learning enabling children to experiment independently while building the skills they need.
First Time Analogies introduces children to analytically thinking about forms, uses and structures with pictorial (i.e. pictures of things from real life) and symbolic (i.e. abstract like the diagrams used in the NNAT2®) analogies.
Thinker Doodles are best described by viewing the sample pages (click on the image of the book cover and then on the "sample pages" tab). For young children it is important to develop the visual skills necessary to complete these problems (the fine motor component isn't relevant for the NNAT®).
Pattern Blocks are a classic math manipulative used throughout elementary school. Our Pattern Block Activity Pack below contains 126 pattern blocks and 36 challenge cards. After completing the challenges in the kit your child can go on to create their own. Tangrams are a classic Chinese puzzle requiring manipulation of 7 blocks of various shapes. Tangrams are a very powerful learning tool. With Tangrambles, our collection of puzzles and tangram blocks, your child will learn to visualize rotating and relocating shapes. SET is a game of visual perception. It can be played solitarie or with multiple players. It requires the identification of sets of cards based on four attributes - color, symbol, number and shading. The ability to quickly identify similarities and differences and classify them into sets will stand a child in good stead in a test of non-verbal ability like the NNAT2®.
NNAT® and Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test® are registered trademarks of NCS Pearson. The suggestions made here are those of thinktonight and are not endorsed by NCS Pearson.