# Candy Apple Math Game For Kids

Candy is a great motivator. It’s not the main motivator I want to use but from time to time it’s novelty is useful and a fun break from more everyday things. This is a simple math game for kids that works on sorting, estimation ,and counting. When working with kids and edibles my rule is that if you do not sneak any you get a small pile at the end of the activity. My son is a rule follower by nature and did this as we have in the past. His 3 year old sister did not. Every child is different but that rule has worked for me over the years much more often than not. Have pom poms or buttons on hand if you need to swap out or prefer not to use candy at all.

1. Gather your materials. You will need a sheet of paper with three trees on it ( you can print mine here) , cookie sheets to keep the candies from rolling away, candies ( our natural dyed red is sorta wine colored but the kids didn’t bat an eye), a small dish for each player, and a jar with a lid.
2. Give each child a sheet with three trees and a small dish. Shake up the jar with all 3 colors of candies in it and pour some into each child’s dish.
3. Have them guess which tree will have the most apples on it by estimating which color is the most prevalent in their dish of candies.
4. Start sorting the candies and placing them on the matching trees.
5. Which has the most? Which has the least? How many do they all have? Count to find out.
6. Sneak a few candies… or every single green candy when mom is busy taking pictures of your big brother counting.
7. Pour the candies back in the jar, shake, and repeat the game.  For my son I had him figure out how many more the tree with the most had than the tree with the least and do some other simple addition and subtraction by allowing him to eat a few and then telling me how many there were after eating them. For my daughter I had her simply count and sort. I loved how easy it was to adapt to both their levels.

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## Books About Apple Trees

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson  was not what I was expecting , it was so much more. I was expecting a basic book about picking apples at an orchard.  This book is anything but basic, it’s dreamy and while reading it I almost felt as thought I was back in time when a whole community would come to a stand still for something like apple picking.  The protagonist is Anna a little girl who works hard in the orchard along side her parents and grandparents . She isn’t as fast as her parents, but with hard work and the support of her family she reaches her goal and fills a bin! I loved this book,  I would suggest it for preschoolers and up.

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace will not be returned to the library on time. We got it out today and my son has had me read it to him 3 times, and his dad read it twice. Clearly it gets the 3 year old seal of approval. It also gets mine. The story is more than just a story about a afmily going apple picking at an orchard. It explains all sorts of apple facts but what I really love is that it also explains that there are different kinds of apples and each are used for different things. Since each member of the family is using their apples for different purposes that fact is driven home . Great book for preschoolers going on a apple picking field trip , making applesauce or apple prints.

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert is stunning. I really enjoy this author but most of my praise for this book lands squarely on the illustrator Karla Gudeon’s shoulders. WOW. I just adore the look, and creativity of this book. The story follows the cycle of one apple from orchard, to market back to seed, tree and back into the hands of a child. I enjoy books like this that simply explain the cycles of the natural world to young kids , but you can’t miss this one.  As I turned each page I gasped, it’s one of those books you just need to sit and look at because each time you do you find some little detail you missed before.

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### More Fun & Learning

1. says

Naturally died candy? No food color? What kind and where did you find them? Food dyes are persona non grata around here. And my three year old would have eaten all the candy.

• Allison McDonald says

We try very very hard to skip food dyes too – so these were a big score . They are UnReal brand candy and you can find it at Target!

2. Love this! And thanks for the “Apples, Apples, Apples” I have not heard of that one and it sounds great! Where do you get your candy that is dyed naturally?

• Allison McDonald says

Thanks! I used “UNReal” candy I found at Target.

3. Sarah Rae says

Great idea; I used dried cherries for red, golden raisins for yellow, and pistachios for green, because we never have candy in the house.

4. says

Thanks for the info. I have heard of Unreal, but have never tried any of their items. I am sure I will be at Target sometime in the next week…. you know, like I am every week.

5. says

Um yes… we are TOTALLY doing this today. Love it! My Catie will be sneaking whole handfuls but will think this is awesome.

Thanks for the fun idea! We tried the Unreal candies last year at a Halloween party. They are yummy.

• Allison McDonald says

These girls are such firecrackers – I think I am supposed to try to stop it but I really think we need more firecrackers in this world! <– not to say she is not disciplined but I don’t squash the sass.

6. says

We love doing candy math and learning activities here — pinning this one!

7. Sandy in SoCal says

Just wanted to thank you for all of your wonderful posts and ideas…I’ve stopped by a few times but I’ve never taken time to tell you how much I appreciate your site/blog! I am a mom and preschool teacher and sometimes I get bored with the same old stuff and go looking for fresh ideas…your site is usually the first on my list to look at!

• Allison McDonald says

Thanks – that is so nice of you to say!