Halloween Activities Improve Math Skills… Spooky Thought!October 25th, 2016
Spooky… Halloween Treats Can Actually Improve Math Skills
There are so many ways you can improve math skills while having fun on Halloween. Math concepts lend themselves easily to trick-or-treating treats. Once your kids are home, have them sort their candy. Remember, sorting and categorizing items is critical to learning math concepts. Classifying is the action of putting objects into sets based on common traits. You can even chart your results. As time goes on, from pre-school, through elementary school, and finally high school, math concepts continue to grow and keep getting refined. However, these activities can be used at any age for fun math learning and review.
Improve Math Skills Halloween Activities
- Compare your candy (greater than, less than, ingredients, size, shape)
- One-to-one correspondence (match one Kit Kat to one Snickers, or two to two, etc.)
- Spatial relationships (thick vs. thin, spherical vs. cube, etc.)
- Addition (when you get another piece)
- Subtraction (when you eat a piece)
- Describe and compare shapes
- Count by 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, 5’s, and 10’s
- Measure length of candy (use units of measurements such as: 3 Hershey’s kisses vs 5 Hershey’s kisses, or 5 candy corns vs 8 candy corns, or even inches)
In the world of mathematics there are patterns, geometric shapes (circles, squares, etc.), comparisons (greater than, less than, equal to), and classifications or sets (numbers divisible by two, prime numbers, etc.).
Once you’ve sorted and compared your own candy, make a chart or several charts that give the results of your comparisons. Then you can compare them with a friend’s or sibling’s results.
Halloween Scavenger Hunt Activity
An activity you can have your kids do while they are out trick-or-treating is to create an ‘intangible’ scavenger hunt. Here, just have the goal of trying to find people in specific costumes (ghost, skeleton, witch, etc), how many pumpkins they came across, what house has the most carved pumpkins, how many of the people handing out candy were dressed up, or whatever else you may think that may be fun.
One idea is to have each kid guess what they think the most common costume will be. Then, have each kid could then count the costume they chose throughout the night. Beforehand, print out a map of the area that the kids will be trick-or-treating and have them mark specific costumes or objects that they found along the way. Mapping will help them build their spatial awareness as well as improve their memory skills of who they saw where. At the end of the night, have each kid count the total number of people they saw of the costume they chose. You can then do simple statistics and ratios of the most popular costumes. “For every 3 witches we saw, we also saw 2 ghosts.” This will help build kids’ number sense and how numbers relate to our lives.
Halloween Memory and Singing Activity
We also add another activity to our Halloween which boosts memory skills. When kids come trick-or-treating to our house, if they want a treat, they must perform and sing a song. They would perform either their own song, Humpty Dumpty, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, or I’m a Little Teapot. Sometimes the kids may be a little hesitant at first, or you may have to ‘jive their memory’ with the beginning of the song. By the end of the song, they are all laughing and now have a story to tell their friends and family. Our house on Halloween has become such a hit for the kids in my neighborhood that they make sure to come back year after year. In fact, there were years that the whole JV football team came to sing I’m a Little Teapot.
Candy Buy Back Program
Another thing my husband and I would do, when our kids still went out trick-or-treating, was to offer them a penny for each piece of candy over a set amount that they had collected. This way, our kids would not eat too much candy throughout November! Nowadays, a nickel may be more appropriate per piece, or perhaps a nickel per piece of candy that they like vs. a penny for candy they don’t like that much anyways. Here you can loop back in math skills by having your kids figure out how much the candy they have collected is worth. Then have them decide how much to give back vs. keep. With the candy we ‘bought back’, my husband took the candy to his workplace. This may or may not have been a good thing for his co-workers!
On Halloween, make sure to take some pictures of any decorations you may have at your house, the process of them getting all dressed up and the successful bounty they have collected at the end of the night. From all of us at Bonnie Terry Learning, we wish you a great and safe Halloween!