Are your kids on summer break yet? We want to keep those little brains learning and growing, even during the lazy days of summer. Numbers and food go hand-in-hand perfectly and, with very little extra prep, your kids can be working their brains while they eat.

Here are three fun and simple ways to play with math during snack time:

1. Snack Patterns

Making patterns at snack time

When my girls were preschoolers, they loved snack patterns. I would give them a plate with a couple patterns started – for example, cheese-cracker-cheese or grape-grape-apple – plus more food to continue the patterns themselves.

2. Snack Bar

Counting money with a snack bar

Practice money counting at your own kitchen snack bar. Set out your regular snack, along with price cards for each item. Give your child a pile of coins to “buy” their snack for the day. For younger kids, you could do all pennies for counting practice. Older kids can count mixed coins to pay for their snack.

As your kids get more proficient with counting money, they can even practice making change for each other!

3. Sort & Count

Sort and graph candy activity

This is a fun activity to do with a treat, like M&Ms or other assorted color candy, but it’s just as interesting with colored Goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, mixed cereals, or trail mix. Any sort of mixed snack will do! Before your child gets to dig in, she sorts her snack into the different varieties and counts totals for each one.

You can ask all kinds of questions about the sorted snack, too – things like most, least, and equal numbers. My older girls still enjoy doing this activity, and I ask them even harder questions now, like What fraction of your M&Ms are blue? 

Here are a few more fun ideas for playing with numbers and food:

Don’t forget about cooking! Spending time with your kids in the kitchen is a perfect way to learn about counting, measurements, and fractions with a delicious result.