Math Fun With Skittles

What makes math more fun?  CANDY!  Our Skittles Math activities incorporate counting, sorting, graphing, adding, comparing, estimating, and computer skills.  Whew!  Lots of skills snuck into an interesting activity.

Each child will need a bag of Skittles candy.  Ours was a very large bag, and yours certainly doesn’t need to be this big!

Ideas to explore Math concepts using your Skittles:

*Guess how many of each color Skittle are in your bag.  Mom can make predictions too!  Incorporate big words like “estimate” and “predict”…your little ones will be excited to use real, big math words.  Older kids can add each color guess together for a Total Number Estimate. 

* Make a bar graph and record your guesses.  Use pre-printed large square graph paper, make your own graph paper, or have your child draw their own bar graph.  Work together to label the bottom with colors and side with numbers.  Or better yet, have your child come up with how you will record your results!  What will you put on the bottom?  On the side?

*Open your bag of Skittles & pour them into a bowl.  Encourage your kids to smell them.  Run their fingers through them.  Wiggle their hands in the pile.  

*Start sorting your colors.  Notice which piles are bigger, which are smaller.  Count each color and write the number down.  Let your kids see who was closest in guessing each color.  Make guesses as to WHY there are more of one color than another.

*Graph your Actual results!  We used the same bar graph for this.  I drew a bold, black line down the middle of the page vertically, then re-created our color list on the other side of the line this time.   Ask your kids how they would like to record their new results in a bar graph.  Looking back, I would have liked to graph each color next to each other (estimate vs actual) so you could get a really good look at which bar was bigger & by how much.

*Since you’ve counted all your Skittles already, you might as well eat a few.

*Older kids can now add up their actual color totals to find….the total number of candies in their bag! 

*Talk about different ways to graph results…make a pie graph together! My favorite site for making your own pie graph is Create A Graph. It is very kid-friendly, and the pie graph generator makes beautiful, bold, simple to understand graphs.

  A screen shot of my son’s pie graph is above.  Discuss the different bits of information you’re asked to enter.  Let your child choose which color will represent each pie in their graph.  Explain how the bigger the number, the bigger the pie slice.

*Print your pie graph!  Set it next to your bar graph and compare.

Which is easier to read?  Which do you like better?  Which was easier to make?  Compare each child’s pie graph to each other.  What would happen if you combined the results from ALL the pie graphs and made one, new big pie graph?  Would it look different?  See what your kids think, then create one.  Were the results surprising?

Think beyond worksheets and flash cards…have some FUN with your kids today while working on important math skills!   


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About Heather

Heather spends time homeschooling, raising 3 great kids, & traveling with her family. She loves folding laundry but hates putting it away. She shares a love of Disney World with her Hubby, she's a cruise fanatic, & bird-watching hobbyist. You can follow her on Twitter as @CrazyZeus1.