Math That You Can Eat: Quantity with Chopsticks, Cereal, and Number Cards


This is certainly not a new idea, but one that I changed according to what I had in the house.  Basically, you want to have a set of number cards 1 through 10, chopsticks or dividers, and cereal.  My second oldest was about 2 ½ to 3 years old.  He really was showing signs of how much he liked to count things, so I wanted to give him a learning activity to help build on his sense of quantity.

First, everything was set up just as you see in the picture above, but without the cereal.  The cereal is in a bowl for my son to grab and use.  I showed him the name of the game by saying that I have the number one, so I need to put one piece of cereal in the spot.  I then said that now I have the number two, so I need to put two pieces of cereal in the spot.  I then said that I now have the number three and asked him how many pieces of cereal I need to put in the spot.  He told me I had to put three pieces of cereal there, so I knew he got it.  I told him that I would like him to finish it all the way to the number 10; once he finished, he can eat all that cereal up as a treat.

This did not take very long for him to finish.  It took about ten to 15 minutes.   Because this was the first time for this learning, I sat there to see what he was doing to check his quantities for each number.  If he miscounted or forgot what number he was on when counting, I was there to help him.  If I had left him by himself this very first time, he would have eaten all the cereal after doing four and five on the numbers cards because he loves his cereal! 🙂  When I am with him, though, we are learning together and it is a great mommy and son time to have in the morning.  The photo below is the rest of the activity set up with his completed work with the cereal before he ate it all 🙂


Where is this on the Schedule of Activities from 18 months to 3 years of age?


  1. Tuesday on Numbers, especially in quantity


Where is this on the Schedule of Activities for 3 to 5 years of age?


  1. Tuesday for Numbers (specifically counting), Quantity, and Measurement


Something to Think About:

Once my son learned how to do this, he wanted to work on this over and over again.  It was about the third time that I did not need to be with him sitting next to him or looking over his shoulder.  He wanted to do this by himself and then I would check his quantities when he was done.  The big treat was that he was doing something by himself and got to eat the cereal 🙂

My oldest was watching him do this and also wanted to work on it.  He already knew his numbers 1 through 10, but I am not one to get in the way of any of my kids when it comes to doing a learning activity.  After the first try, I changed the quantities from 1 through 10 to 11 through 15.  You can change the quantities to whatever you want, depending on the age of your child.  If you want to do numbers 1, 2, and 3, then do that.  If you want to just do the first five numbers, go for it!  If you want to do this in tens, or in any other quantity for your multiple age kids, this is a great idea!  This learning activity is so easy to set up and flexible to be adapted for any quantity, that I do hope you take advantage of this one and try it out.


Number cards (you can make your own)

Chopsticks (you can use forks, pencils, breadsticks, straws, string, etc.)

Cereal (you can use crackers, green peas, corn kernels, or whatever you have in the kitchen)

Again, as a parent, we might think we need to hurry up on teaching certain things to our children so that they won’t fall behind. This allows us to become more stressed or pressured if our children are not learning at the rate we think they should. No worries…just breathe. Because even reading this blog and finding out how to help your child become more successful in math should tell you that you are a wonderful and caring parent. If your child takes more time to learn concepts, it is okay. We all learn at different times. I will say this over and over again because it is that important to know that you are doing a great job! 🙂

copyright 2014 learning math with mom

copyright 2014 learning math with mom

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