Tuesday, November 1, 2011

5 Educational Things To Do With (Halloween) Candy

If you allowed your kids to dress up and go begging for treats last night, chances are you now have more candy in your home than the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

So what's a parent to do? Instead of spending the next week gorging on sugary sweets, why not turn these pieces of candy into tools to help your children perfect their math skills?

Here are my five favorite ideas for using candy in an educational manner:

Sort & Graph

You can make this as simple or as complicated as you want to based on your child's age. Younger children can sort based on color, size, or type. They can create their own graphs, use graph paper, or parents can print off a copy of the bilingual blank bar graphs I have uploaded.

Older kids can sort by ingredients, brand, or even weight. They can create their own graphs, or use an Excel spreadsheet.

Patterns & Sequencing

My children love to do puzzles and this includes figuring out a pattern sequence. Start your children off with a simple AB pattern (Tootsie Roll, Snicker, Tootsie Roll, Snicker...) and ask them what comes next.

For older kids, make the pattern trickier: ABCCABBCCABBBCC. For an added challenge, ask your kids to create a pattern for you to crack!

Coin Value, Addition & Subtraction

Set up a candy shop. Carefully organize and label each type of candy with a price. Give your child some fake (or use real) coins and allow them to "purchase" their own candy. BUT they must use exact change.

Once they've mastered that skill, trade sides and allow them to be the shop owner. However, be sure to give them more than the amount and ask for your change.

Estimate & Measure

Introduce younger children to measurement by having them measure their candy using a nonstandard unit of measurement (i.e., paper clips). Once they've done this a few times, start asking them to estimate first how many paper clips (or whatever you're using) each item will take. Have them write down their guesses and the results so they can see how close they were.

Older children can use an actual ruler. Take it a step further by asking them to figure out how long two or three of the same candy bars will measure if laid out end to end, but allow them to only measure one of the bars and then calculate the answer.

Weight & Comparison

Have your children compare the weights of different candies. Ask them questions like: Which weighs more, a box of milk duds or a bag of M&M's? How many Hershey Kisses does it take to equal one KitKat? Make sure you have them record their results!

¿Qué? Don't have a balance scale? Don't worry, you can make your own.

Con mucho cariño...


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