Here is another easy edible math activity that kids just adore... When my children begged for some rainbow goldfish crackers, I put a bunch into a bowl made a curious face and started asking them questions: How many fish do you think are in there? (More than 100? More than 10?). Which color fish do you think there are the most of? etc.. After piquing their interest, the girls were eager to investigate further...
The girls each chose a color and counted all the goldfish of that color. I asked them to write down their data in a chart. Of course the best part was eating those goldfish crackers when they were done. Next I asked the girls to make a bar graph showing how many fish there were of each color.. but oops.. the fish were all eaten.. how could be make a graph now? The kids figured out that they could use the data they recorded.
I set up the graph (color labels and boxes) but the kids filled them in on their own. Then each girl handed her graph to her sister and asked her questions ("How many yellow fish did I have?"). This was a really fun activity with both handwriting and math skills, and there was zero whining. If you're curious...yes, L is wearing her pajamas in this picture - I'm hoping that the good points I earned for getting the girls to do schoolwork early in the morning negate the fact that I let them eat goldfish crackers for breakfast!
UPDATE: I was so inspired by how much my kids enjoyed early math "games" that I created the La La Logic Critical Thinking Curriculum for 3-6 year olds, which includes online brain challenge games, printable worksheets, enrichment activities and more!