For a beginner math activity, this one teaches the basics of estimating and graphing in a delicious way. When the kids are done estimating, sorting and counting, they can enjoy M&M’s as a built-in treat.
• Graph paper
1. Open a bag of M&M's and reach for one of the milk chocolate candies. Based on the size of that M&M, estimate how many total M&M’s are in the bag.
2. Next, estimate how many pieces of each color are in the bag (red, yellow, orange, blue, green and brown). Record the answer.
3. Carefully pour the M&M’s onto a clean surface. Count the total number of candy pieces. Then sort by color and count the number of each color.
4. Do the math to figure out how close the estimates were.
5. Using graph paper and crayons, color in a square for each M&M in the bag.
6. If you want to talk about comparison, open another bag or two and repeat the exercise. How many M&M’s of each color are in the other packages? Are the numbers similar?
7. For older children who have studied percentages in school, you can take this one step further. M&M’s last published its candy color breakdown in 2008. At that time, each package of milk chocolate M&M’s contained on average 24% blue, 13% brown, 16% green, 20% orange, 13% red and 14% yellow pieces. Have your child figure out if the percentages of M&M’s in their bags are equal to these numbers.
Notes: If you don’t have graph paper, improvise by drawing lines on notebook paper. You could repeat this activity using almost any other product that comes in a mixture of colors, shapes, sizes or types. Skittles, cereal, jelly beans, marbles and Legos are examples.