We all know how excited children become as Halloween draws closer. But instead of Halloween being a distraction to kids, why not harness this Halloween energy into some Halloween math practice.
Halloween gives parents and teachers a wonderful tool to motivate kids to do math. These Halloween math activities can be used at school with a whole class or a small group or at home with siblings playing against each other or a child playing with an adult.
Listed below are few different ways to get kids counting, calculating and practicing math skills.
Buzz is a favorite counting game for many children. But you are bound to find that they’ll like the Halloween version even more.
Players sit in a circle and start to count around the circle. But when a player comes to the number 7, a multiple of 7, e.g. 14 or 35 or any number with a 7 digit, e.g. 27, the player says buzz instead of the number. When a player doesn’t say ‘Buzz’ at the appropriate time, the player is out.
In the Halloween version the word buzz can be replaced with a Halloween word, e.g. ‘spooky’ or ‘scary’ or ‘ghost’. Try to count to 70 which would be a ‘spooky’ number and then continue on counting – spooky-one, spooky-two, etc as players can’t say ‘seventy-one’.
4 Dice Skeleton
This game requires 4 dice and a copy of the alphabet with a number value beside each letter, i.e. a-1, b-2, c-3, d-4 etc. Each player also has a piece of paper with 8 dashes on it, ready to write the word SKELETON.
The object of the game is to write the word SKELETON, by rolling the total value for each letter.
If a player rolls 5, 3, 3 and 1, these are added to 12 which is a letter ‘L’. The player can then put the letter ‘L’ into their word. If a player rolls 1, 1, 1 and 2, they can write in the letter ‘E’ both times in the word. The first player to finish their word SKELETON is the winner. The game can also be played with other Halloween words, but don’t include any words that contain an A, B, C, Y or Z as with 4 dice it is impossible to throw 1, 2, 3, 25 or 26. Try using the words – FRIGHTEN, MONSTER or PUMPKIN. Words like HALLOWEEN, FRANKENSTEIN or JACK-O’-LANTERN can also be used if the A’s and C’s are written in before starting the game.
A shorter version of this game is to have each person working on completing one word.
The person who completes it with the last letter is the winner.
Halloween Brain Teasers
Halloween Brain Teasers are also a great way to get kids busy with math. Simply take your favorite Brain Teasers and change the characters and situations to a Halloween character or situation.
Here’s a couple to get you started.
Dracula only likes red candy and Frankenstein only likes black candy. There are 6 pieces of red candy, 9 pieces of black candy and 4 pieces of blue candy in a bag. What is the minimum number of pieces of candy that Dracula will need to pick, without looking at them to make sure that he gets at least 1 piece of red candy? How many pieces will Frankenstein need to pick out to make sure he gets at least 1 black piece?
Dracula has 3 pairs of pants – black, brown and blue, 2 shirts – black and white and 3 capes – black, red and blue. Name all of the different outfits that he can wear, e.g. black pants, white shirt and red cape. How many different outfits can he make?
There are many different ways to use Halloween to make math more exciting. You’ll find that children will definitely agree that Halloween math is much more interesting than doing regular math. So instead of trying to dampen the enthusiasm for Halloween why not use it to make math fun?