Using M&Ms to Graph with your Preschooler

I love discovering totally new things. Graphing is not “new” but the idea that my preschooler can graph say M&M’s amazes me! Beth from Keesler Chaos was wonderful and opened my eyes! Snack time will never be the same!   She graciously offered to show us her graphing activity, and included free printables.   Just click on the chart images for larger printable versions.     I can see us adapting the charts for handfuls of dried fruit (how many raisins do you have compared to dried cherries, etc.).

Here is the graphing activity in her words and pictures.
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My youngest, Mac, is quite a character! When his sisters where little, they ran to have their school time with Mom, but Mac, he ™d rather be doing flips off the couch! I scoured the house looking for things I thought would attract him to his math lessons. We sorted dinos, cars, and action heros. That was fun once or twice, and then he was off and running! And then I dragged out the candy stash.

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He sorted M&Ms, Smarties, jellybeans and anything else I could find. As long as there was eating at the end, he was ready! We started by separating the different colors of candy from each other.   Then we started graphing. He lines up each color in their own row, and we have a chat.

Which color has the most? Which has the least?

Are any colors equal?

We talked about what he ™d need to do to make two columns equal (subtract or add to a pile).

We could add a red, but what if you ate a yellow? What happened?

I laminated my charts so that we could re-use them over and over again with a dry erase marker.   We compared columns and my elementary aged daughter gets in on the fun first graphing, practicing making the equal, greater than or less than signs when comparing two lines of candies.

We also worked on patterns.   Never had my kids enjoy learning math as much as they do with candy!

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Thanks again Beth and Mac from Keesler Chaos!

12 Comments

  1. I love this idea! My daughter has done this with her class…and they keep it seasonal. i.e. cranberries for their Winter Cranberry Games, etc. I love your idea to laminate, too, so they’re reusable. Thanks for the ideas!

  2. Great idea!! I’ve used M&Ms for a variety of learning games, and they were even helpful with potty training. Thanks for sharing!

    BTW Happy Anniversary!
    .-= Sherry´s last blog ..Mom Anxiety =-.

  3. When my daughter was younger, she was given an M&M counting book! We had so much fun with it and it was a great math tool.
    .-= lynne´s last blog ..Entrecard and Viruses =-.

  4. How colorful! So, do your kids ask to do math just so they can eat some more candy (I know mine would!) Thanks for submitting this to the Hands On Homeschool blog carnival.
    .-= *Kris*´s last blog ..F. N. Monjo History Books =-.

  5. We just did something like this with buttons today. Next time, I’ll laminate. Good idea! Your blog is great! I’ve gotten some great ideas.
    By the way, I have a Mack too. Except with a K.
    Thanks a bunch!
    .-= Lula Lola´s last blog ..Butt, Stupid, Shut Up, Fart, Dummy, Hate =-.

  6. I love your blog!! I could spend all day on here looking at all your activiites and ideas! I don’t know how I missed ever visiting you before, but I’m following you now!
    .-= Natalie´s last blog ..Takin’ The Day Off! =-.

  7. That is a truly inspired idea! Love it!!

  8. I teach math to youngsters and without a shadow of a doubt the practical approach is the best at an early age, especially with graph work.
    If you can incorporate something they like as well then you are on a winner. Great idea with the colored candy and I luv Jessica’s post about using seasonal fruit.

    Good blog….it works!!!

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