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How to Make Math Fun and Tasty

Sometimes math can be a struggle. It’s one of those subjects that most children either really love or really don’t love! So today I’d like to share some ideas for making math fun with apples! After all, you don’t always have to have expensive manipulatives or fancy curriculum to add new life to math in your homeschool. Sometimes you just need to do something a little different to spark curiosity and make learning fun again!

cupcake with an apple tree made of green dipped oreos and red m & m

One delicious way of making math fun with apples is by making these (surprisingly easy!) Apple Tree Cupcakes. Baking is a fun way to get in some math practice with your children without them even realizing it!

Below are some suggested ideas and activities to incorporate math into your baking. Just choose the ideas that fit the ages/grade levels of your children.

  • Practice counting by counting out the number of cupcake liners you need. They can also count the number of lollipop sticks, Oreo cookies, red M&Ms, and Tootsie Rolls.
  • One-to-one ratio is easy to practice by matching the needed cupcake liners with the spaces in the muffin tin. This skill can be practiced again by matching up lollipop sticks to Oreo cookies.

  • Some children may be ready to practice basic multiplication by deciding on and setting aside a specific number of red M&Ms to go on each “apple tree.”
  • Even young children (with guidance if needed) can learn about fractions and measurements just by making the cupcakes according to the directions on the package.
  • Telling time is another important skill when baking! Help your children learn to make a note of the time when you put the cupcakes into the oven. Then work together to figure out what time you they’ll be done baking. (You can also show them how to set a timer to help make sure you don’t forget to take them out on time! When my kids were little, we used a visual timer similar to this one because it gave them a way to see how much longer they had to wait!)
  • This is also a good time to discuss temperature and to show your children how to set the temperature on the oven. You could even (just for fun and to add another element of math) talk about how to convert temperatures from Fahrenheit to Celsius.
  • Do simple subtraction problems by giving each child (for example) ten M&Ms. Ask the children how many M&Ms they will have if they eat 5 of the M&Ms. Then let them eat the M&Ms, count again, and check their answers. Have them use the M&Ms they have left to decorate their apple tree cupcakes!

  • Do simple addition problems by giving each child two small handfuls of M&Ms. (For very young children, you may want to give each child just two or three per handful.) Do an addition problem with the two amounts. Depending on the age/grade level of your children, you may want to show them how to create a written addition problem or teach them to do mental math. Then either eat the M&Ms or use them to decorate their cupcakes.
  • Create a bar graph with the leftover M&Ms! Use the leftover M&Ms (After all, you’re only using the red ones for this baking project!) to chart the number of M&Ms of several different colors.

You Might Also Like These Food-Related Activities!

A Collection of Apple Learning Activities


Health and PE for Homeschoolers (Printable Nutrition Game)

10 Awesome Ways to Make a Cell Model


If you love this idea, you may want to check out these other resources to help make math fun and tasty!!

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  1. Great ideas! I have a hard time teaching math, I will definitely be trying these this year withmy littles! 😊

  2. I love these ideas. I have my ten year old cook with me. We work on fractions that way. He loves cooking and now he is pretty good at fractions. Best part is you can eat it at the end of the lesson😊.

  3. Thanks for the great ideas! My youngest son is really into playing with the uncooked organic mac&cheese number noodles. I had not even thought of integrating treats into math studies!

  4. So happy I found this article. My daughter struggles a bit with math. I can’t wait to try some of these and make it more fun for her. She is a visual and hands on learner so these will be perfect!
    Thank you!

  5. Great ides! I’ve used M&M’s as rewards as well as grapes., but never for actually counting it out. Thanks for all the great articles 😁

  6. I love this! I have one son who loves to cook, so I am always trying to bring more cooking and math into our homeschool.

  7. I was at a small specialty store last week and found pretzels that are letter shaped. My son loves them so we have been using them to practice spelling and letters. I hadn’t thought to incorporate counting as well!

  8. This was such a great article. Will definitely be using these math activities at home to make it more enjoyable.

  9. We learned shapes with twizzlers.
    Gum drops and toothpicks

    Stick gum drops on the end of toothpicks to make the shapes.
    Twizzlers were for the circles.

  10. We really struggle with math but my oldest is on large multiplication and division. I just can’t seem to make it fun at all.

  11. These are adorable! Each fall we do an apple unit. This will be perfect to tie math right into it! Thank you!

  12. As a pinterest lover this article is a favorite. I love these ideas and learning through playing is probably one of my favorite ways to teach. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I’m gonna have to try this with my daughter. She does not like math at all. I think this will keep her attention. Lol.

  14. I use cooking/baking activities with my math-challenged daughter and it has really made a difference! When she could see why we need math in the real world, it helped her so much. Thanks for these great tips!

  15. My kids all love to help in the kitchen. It is a great way to work on math without them realizing they are actually doing math.

  16. My kids have learned the start of their fractions by baking!! We have a hard time doing most baking projects due to restricted diets but sometimes we just do water measurements but still really fun!!

  17. These are really good ideas! I will for sure be using them with my twins this year, one loves to do math but the other one drags her feet the whole time.

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