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Super Why: Cupcake Math

What's The Point

Cooking with kids is a great way to teach kids about measurement and help them learn the language of math. Creating and completing patterns help children learn important problem solving and mathematical reasoning skills.

Related Game:
Cake Maker – Choose a celebration and make a cake complete with frosting and toppings.

This Activity Will Help Your Child

  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Use math-themed words

Book Suggestions

  • Beep Beep, Vroom Vroom!
    by Stuart J. Murphy
  • Cook-A-Doodle-Doo
    by Janet Stevens & Susan Stevens Crummel

Supplies

  • Cake mix
  • Tub of ready-made frosting
  • Cupcake pan and liners
  • Toppings (e.g., raisins, sprinkles, mini-marshmallows, chocolate chips, jelly beans, gumdrops, etc.)
  • Small bowls for the toppings

How Do I Do It?

  1. Ask your child to help you make a batch of cupcakes. Let him help with the measuring, pouring, and counting out of ingredients.
  2. Talk about what you are doing. Use terms such as "cup" and "teaspoon", and count ingredients out loud (e.g., "We need 2 eggs and 1 cup of milk."). Ask your child to help you assemble the ingredients (e.g., "Can you get me 2 eggs?"). Once the cupcakes are made and frosted, it's time to decorate!
  3. Put the different toppings into small bowls.
  4. Tell your child that you are going to make patterns while decorating the cupcakes. Explain that a pattern is something that repeats itself. Then show him what you mean. For example, decorate your cupcake with a row of red jelly beans then a row of blue jelly beans and then a row of red jelly beans, and so on. Or you can decorate your cupcake by alternating jelly beans and mini-marshmallows, another pattern.
  5. Start a pattern and ask your child to complete it. Then ask your child to make up a pattern of his own.

Take It Further

You'll need five frosted cupcakes and five index cards. Write the numbers 1 through 5 on the index cards, one number per card. Spread the cards on the table, face down. Ask your child to draw a card and put that number of decorations on a cupcake (e.g., she draws a "4" and puts four jellybeans on a cupcake). Then do the same for the next cupcake, and so on, until all the cupcakes are decorated. Now ask your child to put the cupcakes in order of the number of decorations they have, from one to five.