How many of you still have the kids home on Christmas break from school? Here is a fun way to brush up on those math skills using dry cereal at home.
One of the reasons that Americans have taken to breakfast cereals is that they are quick and easy. Besides, cereals have been specifically designed so kids will like them: creative shapes, colors, flavors and the box is entertaining while they eat.
Cereal can be used in mathematical learning, but think of the creative process this manipulative material offers to develop the senses and ingenious art activities as well. Try a few projects below and don’t forget to provide a clean bowl of cereal for munching!
On pieces of cardboard, draw a large number. Have the children glue O-shaped cereal inside, the same amount as the number value. After it’s dry, they can run their fingers along the shape of this number and begin counting skills, along with your help. Start with numbers one to five and increase numerals according to age and skill level.
Egg Carton Math Game
Write the numerals 1-12 inside the sections of an egg carton with a black marker. Give each child a cup of cereal and have him place pieces of cereal to correspond with the number in each section. Count the pieces together in each egg cup. As children play this game, they are learning to recognize symbols for each number. Another way to teach number recognition is to look for number symbols every time you sit together to read a book or look at magazines. Point to numerals and say the number name out loud.
Make a pattern model using bamboo skewers. Thread on mini-marshmallows and O-shaped cereal. Use colorful cereal and sort by color or number of O’s between each marshmallow. Encourage the children to copy your model, and then make up patterns of their own. NOTE: Adult supervision is advised when using pointed sticks with young children. A variation to this activity is to glue cereal pieces on paper, creating specific patterns.
You will need construction paper, scissors, glue and cereal for this project. Instruct children to cut out squares, triangles, circles and rectangles from the paper. Younger children may need adult help. Glue pieces of cereal to fill each shape.
Children learn by doing, so as they play, mathematical skills can be mastered. Think creatively by using cereal and foods to make this experience fun.
This article was originally published by this author on a closed Yahoo property and regional print magazines.
Photos by Tania K Cowling, all rights reserved