Number Activities for Kids


Creating a secret code is one way to use numbers.
Creating a secret code is one way to use numbers.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

From card games or hopscotch to shopping or making a phone call, our lives are full of numbers. In fact, we probably couldn't get through a single day without using numbers in some way. The following articles offer number activities for kids that show how you can use numbers for fun. Try them on your own or with friends -- or even with an adult. Ready? 1-2-3 ... go!

Monumental Number Facts

Advertisement

Discover the enormous number of things there are in your everyday life. Find out how to get started.

Double Up

Fractions are easy to understand when you play this water game. See how to do it.

The Probability of Heads or Tails

It's fun to guess the likelihood of whether a coin flip will result in heads or tails. Find out more about probability.

Special Delivery

You and a friend can send your own special delivery messages when you use a secret code. Learn how to get started.

Weigh Cool

Which weighs more: a cup of feathers or a cup of cereal? Discover this and other interesting facts with this game.

Ready for some fun with numbers? You might be surprised by how monumental they can be. Keep reading to learn more.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Monumental Number Facts for Kids

Did you know that there are monumental number facts in your everyday life? You might be surprised to learn the extremely enormous numbers of ordinary things. It's fun to collect these staggering number facts for kids!

Here are some big-number facts to get you started: People have about 100,000 hairs growing on their heads. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. One acre of land may have from 50,000 to 1,000,000 worms underground. There are more than 800,000 species of insects in the world. There are about 8,000,000 words in the English language.

Advertisement

What You'll Need

Pencil

Paper

Reference materials (encyclopedia, newspaper, almanac)

How to Collect Monumental Number Facts

Step 1: Set out on a number-fact search. Write down as many facts as you can that include large numbers.

Step 2: Add to the list. How many more big-number facts can you find? Use an encyclopedia, an almanac, online resources, a newspaper, and any other fact-finders available.

Step 3: Write down your big-number facts, and keep adding to the collection.

Now, get a bucket of water and some measuring cups! Keep reading to learn how to play "Double Up."

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Double Up

Fractions are easy to understand when you play this water measuring game.
Fractions are easy to understand when you play this water measuring game.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

You'll get a watery grasp on fractions when you learn to "double up." This activity for kids teaches a basic principle of math in a fun and hands-on way.

You start with a bucket of water and a measuring cup; then fill 'er up ... and then fill 'er up again! And again. And again. Here's how it works:

Advertisement

What You'll Need

Measuring cups

Bucket

Water

Paper

Pen or pencil

How to Play "Double Up"

Step 1: Use a measuring cup to fill a bucket with water. Start with 1/4 cup.

Step 2: Keep track of how many 1/4 cups it takes to fill your bucket to the brim.

Step 3: Write the number on your paper.

Step 4: Now dump your bucket (in a plugged sink to recycle the water), and fill it up again, this time using a 1/2-cup measure.

How many dips of the 1/2 cup did it take to fill the bucket this time? Exactly half as many? If not, you spilled.

Step 5: Try it again with a 1-cup measure.

Ever toss a coin and wonder whether it would come up heads or tails? Keep reading to learn about probability.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

The Probability of Heads or Tails Activity for Kids

Flip a coin to test the probability of heads or tails. What does that mean? Well, the "probability" of an event -- such as flipping a coin -- refers to the likelihood that something will happen, such as whether it will come up heads or tails.

For instance, what would happen if a coin were flipped 100 times? Which do you think would turn up more often: heads or tails? Would the results be different with a different kind of coin? Give it a try, and compare your best guess to the actual results.

Advertisement

What You'll Need

Coin

Pencil

Paper

How to Find the Probability of Heads or Tails

Step 1: Choose a coin and flip it 100 times, recording the result of each flip.

Step 2: Tally the results.

Step 3: Try the test again with a different kind of coin. Is the result the same or different?

To simplify, test a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter, flipping each 20 times and recording the results of each flip. Compare the results.

Another fun activity with numbers is to create a secret code. Find out how on the next page.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Special Delivery Game for Kids

Writing in secret code is a great way to send private messages to your friends.
Writing in secret code is a great way to send private messages to your friends.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Send your friends a "special delivery" message -- in secret code! With your own private code, even that top-secret note you gave your friend after class will be safe from "enemy" eyes.

Codes are also a great way to protect your diary entries from snooping siblings. So grab a pencil and a piece of paper -- and get started.

Advertisement

What You'll Need

Pencil

Paper

How to Play "Special Delivery"

Step 1: The simplest way to make up a code is to assign each letter of the alphabet a certain number. You won't want the obvious -- A=1, B=2, C=3 -- that's much too easy to figure out.

Step 2: Instead, look at this code, for example: A=1, B=5, C=9, D=13, E=17, and so on. Do you see how it works? Each letter takes a number that's 4 plus the number of the previous letter. Just be sure to keep a copy of your code -- and give one to your friend!

There's no secret to measuring the weight of different objects, but it still can be intriguing! Keep reading to learn about this activity.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Weigh Cool Game for Kids

Find out which weighs more: a cup of feathers or a cup of cereal.
Find out which weighs more: a cup of feathers or a cup of cereal.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Here's a game for kids that will have you exclaiming, "Weigh cool!" Have you ever wondered if the things that look the same have the same weight? Are things that measure the same actually the same weight?

This experiment will answer those questions, and you'll have fun discovering whether all things are equal when it's time to measure the facts. Here's how to get started.

Advertisement

What You'll Need

Dowel

Ruler

Knife or scissors

String

2 identical plastic dishes

Measuring cup

Sand

Feathers

Dry cereal

Sugar

Flour

Paper

Pencil

How to Play "Weigh Cool"

Step 1: Make a simple measuring scale. Measure the dowel rod to find the exact middle.

Step 2: Ask an adult to carve a notch in the center of the rod with a knife or scissors. Tie a string around that center notch.

Step 3: Now hang the identical plastic dishes from each side of the dowel with string.

Step 4: Suspend the scale from a safe, still place, such as a door frame or a ceiling hook.

Step 5: Measure 1/4 cup sand, 1/4 cup feathers, 1/4 cup dry cereal, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup flour.

Step 6: Examine the things you've measured, and decide if they look like they should weigh the same.

Step 7: Compare the substances using your handmade scale. Make notes about your discovery.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out: