In Sum: 327 (or in other words, a post about Halloween candy and counting)

Our children ended up with a massive pile of candy after our Halloween activities this year. Really.*

One quiet afternoon I decided to have a little fun with our candy (and sneak in some learning at the same time). I dumped out our bowls of candy on the living room floor and asked the kids to sort and organize it. I got them started by saying “Here is a tootsie pop. Do we have any other tootsie pops? Let’s put them in a pile together.” They caught on quickly and jumped right in. Even the two-year old was happily picking up candy and saying “same…same!”

Once the sorting was done, we took a look at our piles and I asked them to estimate, or take a guess at which pile had the most candy. Then we started counting. Each child took turns picking a pile to count and we recorded the totals. We worked our way through the chocolate pile, the Tootsie Pops, the Nerds, the Laffy Taffy, etc. We were all correct in our estimation that we had the most chocolate–77 pieces! Hooray.

After all that counting and sorting, it was definitely time to eat a piece!

Then I suggested that we go the next step and figure out how many pieces of candy we had all together. I pulled out the dry erase boards for my almost-8-year-old and she started adding everything up.

Meanwhile my five year old and I pulled out the calculator and started adding up our totals–she punched in all of the numbers.

The grand total at the end came to 327 pieces of candy! Yikes, that is a lot of candy. And that is even after almost two weeks of eating a few pieces of candy a day, and sharing a bunch with our family who visited for a few days. I wonder how much we had to start with ??!!!

We made a few real-world applications and realized that if the 5 of us in our family each ate one piece of candy a day, it will last us for 65 days. But it is more likely that we will eat two pieces, in which case it will last for 32 days, or about a month.

I know I am a bit of nerd, but it was really fun to find some real life counting and math practice that worked for all three of my children! Thanks for the inspiration, Teach Mama! Check out her post for more ideas and great ways to play with candy.

*The long story: We attended our ward Trunk or Treat party the weekend prior, and then the children headed out with Dad on Halloween to knock the neighborhood. This is our first year in a neighborhood with houses and families and children (as opposed to just townhomes and mainly college students) so we weren’t exactly sure how much candy to plan for. Well…turns out that our street is not a popular place to trick or treat. At nearly every door they knocked they were handed an extra large handful of candy because the home owners were thrilled to finally have some children to give candy too. And while I eagerly waited at home with my own candy bowl primed and ready to go, I only had 4 children knock at my door. All of that combines to make one large supply of candy!!

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2 thoughts to “In Sum: 327 (or in other words, a post about Halloween candy and counting)”

  1. We always came home from Trick-or-Treating and sorted our candy into matching piles. We probably counted it too–but I don’t remember doing it in such a fun way like you did! I like that you estimated the candy–that’s a neat twist on the normal sorting. (I actually don’t want to know how much candy we have–it was a bit much this year, too! But, the kids don’t complain!)

  2. Oh, I forgot to say that years ago I tried to teach my kids about sorting their candy and they weren’t really interested in it. !? I was like–but you have to sort your Halloween candy–that’s what you do with it! But, they have just gradually adopted doing it over the years! This year they didn’t think twice about it–they dumped it out and quickly sorted it into types and started trading off what they didn’t want. 🙂

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