Halloween candy seems like an unusual place to find math. But, it turns out, there are some great skill-building activities that can be done with these yummy treats....all in the context of something kids love – candy!
Here are four fun and educational post-trick-or-treating activities:
Candy sort: Have your child place all their candy in a pile. Ask her to sort the candy into groups. As she is sorting, ask her why she chose the groups she did. Then see if she can sort them another way. This is a building block to algebraic thinking as kids look for specific attributes that define each group.
Counting and comparing: Once your child has sorted her candy, organize them into rows. Then count how many there are in each group. Help her write the number down on a small piece of paper or sticky note and label each group with its number. When all groups have been labeled, ask questions such as Which group has the most? Which group has the least? How many more Skittles are there than Milk Duds? How many more Kit Kats would you need to have the same number of Hersheys? Have your child help you order the sticky note numbers from smallest to greatest.
Geometry: Discuss the different shapes you see in each piece of candy. For example, candy corn looks like a triangle, Whoppers look like spheres, and a Kit Kat bar is made up of rectangles.
Graphing: Similar to organizing the candy into rows like we did above, your child will be using graph paper to turn those rows into a bar graph. The graph in the photo reflects vertical bars but you can also make the bars horizontal. Decide if you want to go big and graph all their candy, or keep it smaller and graph one small bag of a candy like Skittles or M&Ms.
And, finally, subtraction! If I have six Milky Ways and I eat them all, what's left? ... a very upset tummy.
Karyn is co-founder of Kidnexions, an educational company specializing in kids' money and elementary mathematics. She has a BA in Child Development, a Masters of Arts in Education with a Specialization in Elementary Mathematics, and a multiple subjects teaching credential. Her passion is designing real-world lessons that resonate with kids and their interests. Karyn is the creator of Nifty Numbers and Math Medley Family Math Night kits which were designed to build strong family-school partnerships and get parents involved on an academic level. She is currently working on her third Family Math Night kit. www.kidnexions.com