- May 1, 2017
- Posted by: Dr. Elise Cohen Ho
- Category: Parenting & Family
Find math in the kitchen with a cupcake counting exercise!
Kids sort and decorate cupcakes while using math words like “set” and “unit.” This creative activity blends open-ended art with counting, matching and sorting, skills kids will use later for academic math.
Let the cupcake counting begin!
What You Need:
What You Do:
- Bake the cupcakes in advance. There are awesome recipes HERE but keep in mind that we want unfrosted cupcakes.
- Fill the cupcake tins only halfway full of dough so the tops will be flat.
- Allow to cool.
- Now, mix the marzipan modeling dough. Working on wax paper, divide marzipan into as many portions as colors you and your child want to use. Show your child how to squish marzipan flat between his or her palms, add color to the center, then fold up the edges and squeeze. Keep squishing until color is even. For deeper color, add two drops and knead some more. Make sure everyone washes and dries their hands between colors.
- You and your child can now sculpt with the marzipan — no special instructions needed! The only limitation on what to make is imagination… animals, shapes, flowers, or anything else your little artist/baker can think of. Six of these creations will become cupcake toppers.
- While your artist/baker finishes sculpting, set up the matching activity on a long table or counter. Arrange the sets so like units are together (all six cupcakes on one plate, all six saucers in one stack, all six candles in one cup, etc.)
Now we bring more math into the fun!
- Have your child choose six toppers and ask if they can help you see if there are six “units” in the other “sets.” Name sets and count units together: “The saucer set has: one, two…” (Is your child an accomplished counter? Kids are usually delighted if you have “forgotten” a saucer or “accidentally” included extra candles. Let your child correct the units!)
- With counts confirmed, reorganize old sets into new sets: cupcake sets! Have your child hand you one saucer, one doily, etc., while explaining that a cupcake set needs one of each unit.
- After each cupcake set is organized, encourage your artist/baker to arrange each set in the way that they feel makes they most like.
- If she wants to keep going, have her break down the sets again. Can she sort everything so that like units are back together?
Allow for as much sorting and counting as you and your child desire, then enjoy a cupcake treat together.
After all that counting, sorting, and matching, you have both had a great time and your child has learned the usefulness of math!
Does this sound like something you would do with your child? What other ways can you make math fun?