Sneaking math lessons into Halloween activities and parties might sound more like a trick than a treat this Halloween. But, amongst the costumes, candy and pumpkins, this popular holiday is actually a perfect time to help make learning math even more fun for your children.
Try these 10 fun and easy ideas to add math to the Halloween goodie bag this year…
10 sweet ideas
1) Tally your treats
Children enjoy playing with their candy almost as much as they enjoy eating it. To take advantage of this enthusiasm, encourage them to weigh their bounty using a traditional bathroom scale, count individual pieces of candy and guess the amount of calories in the whole bag. They can also divide the candy into categories, such as chocolate, hard, soft…
2) Bake math into the Halloween fun
As you know, cooking with kids is a treat for them, but its also a math teaching opportunity for parents. Invite them into the kitchen to make candy apples or a pumpkin pie, letting them take the lead on measuring the ingredients. To increase the level of difficulty, challenge them to calculate the amount of ingredients needed to double the recipe or introduce the concept of ratios. For example, what is the ratio between the sugar and pumpkin?
3) Mimic the mathematicians
Inspire your children to reach their highest math potential by inviting them to dress up as famous mathematicians such as Albert Einstein and Sir Isaac Newton. Or why not dress up as one of our loved Math-Whizz characters such as Wincey or Super Ant?!
4) Rack up the repeats
Pick one of this year’s most popular costumes – witches, ghosts or ghouls – and keep track of how many times you see duplicates. You could make this a contest between a number of children – the winner receives bonus treats!
5) Count the cash
Between buying costumes, sweets and pumpkins, Halloween costs can add up. Discuss with your children how much money the family spends on Halloween every year, how much the country as a whole spends, and how money can be saved with acts such as trading costumes with friends.
6) Speak about spooky math facts
Bats can consume nearly 50 percent of their body weight in food each night. The thread of the orb web spider is extremely elastic and can be stretched 30 – 40 per cent before it breaks! Discuss these and other spooky math facts.
7) Predict the popcorn
This simple but effective game is particularly fun at parties. Just fill a jar full of popcorn and have the children guess the number of individual pieces. The person closest to the actual amount wins a prize.
8) Marvel in the geometric genius of spider webs
Spiders use silk in their abdomens to spin geometrically complex creations to catch their prey. Different spiders produce a wide variety of shapes. Parents can print pictures of various webs – spiral orb webs, cobwebs, funnel webs, tubular webs, sheet webs and dome or tent webs – and discuss their similarities and differences.
9) Wade into water measurement
If you plan on bobbing for apples, mark a line on the container where you want the water to reach. Ask the children to estimate how many litres of water it will take to reach the line.
10) Count the days until the Christmas holidays
Once all the treats are collected, break out the calendar and count the days until Christmas. How many months? How many weeks? How many days? This exercise is a great way to cap off Halloween while sneaking in one last math lesson!
So don’t let addition, subtraction and estimation be more frightening than ghosts, goblins and ghouls for your children this Halloween. Utilize these tips and formulate your own for a wickedly Whizzy holiday!