Halloween Candy Math

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What are your kids’ favorite Halloween traditions? My kiddos have one that makes their list every single year. The best part about it? I don’t even have to make them do it- they “created” it themselves!

After the decorating, dressing up, and trunk/trick-or-treating, my kids can hardly wait to get out of their costumes and dump out all of their candy to tally their earnings. Yes, literally tally.

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It started a few years ago, when my oldest was 5. He wanted to know how much of each candy he got. From there, we created a simple graph. As the years went on, the candy piles grew, the analysis got more in depth, and the siblings joined in on the fun. Last year we accumulated over 1000 candy items and they had several hours of educational fun that I didn’t have to force upon them!

It starts with the sorting. They love this, and even the youngest kids can get in on it. We sort by type of candy or toy, and as you can see, it’s quite the undertaking! The best part is, they don’t realize how much learning is going on already!

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Then we create a graph. We like to post it on a large poster board and personalize it ourselves, but you could also use one like this. We put the candy wrappers on the bottom of each column and then they create a bar graph to show the total number of each type of candy.

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Once the graph is complete, we analyze the data by asking all sorts of questions such as:

  • Which candy has the most/least? What’s the average number of candies?
  • How many Snickers, MilkyWays and KitKats are there in all?
  • How many more Reeses are there than Milkduds?
  • What is the total amount of candy?
  • What fraction of the whole are Smarties?
  • What percentage of the candy is chocolate?
  • What is the ratio of Skittles to M&Ms?
  • Assign monetary values to each type of candy and ask questions such as: How much would it cost to buy _____ and _____? If you have $10 what combinations of candy could you purchase? If you buy ___ and ____ and pay with a $5, how much change will you get?
  • If you eat 3 pieces of candy a day, how many days will it take to eat all of it?
  • How many licks does it take to get to the center of the Tootsie Pop?
  • Take the learning to the next level and have them make up their own questions.

Aside form graphing, there are so many educational opportunities to be had with these fun-size candy bars! Here are some awesome math freebies available using M&Ms and Skittles in addition to other candy varieties. You can also do some amazing Halloween science or candy experiments. Last year we talked about marketing and advertising by teaching the kids all of the famous candy slogans. They found watching old commercials absolutely hilarious!

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Finally, when we’re done sorting, graphing, discussing, and experimenting we create the best thing to make with leftover Halloween candy… candy stuffed cookie dough!!

What’s your favorite thing to do with leftover Halloween candy? Please share!

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