Turkey Time: Making It Count
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Laura Overdeck
Laura Overdeck is a mom, an aunt and founder of Bedtime Math, a rapidly growing non-profit online community dedicated to making nightly math problems as popular as bedtime stories.
Here’s an unusual but surefire way to have some special time with your young nieces and nephews this Thanksgiving: get them involved with meal preparations in a way that teaches them math while having fun at the same time.
Most parents don’t do math for fun with their kids: everyone knows to read a bedtime story, but what about math? How many parents have the whimsy and energy to spot fun number facts throughout the day? A lot of parents don’t, which is why I started Bedtime Math: to help parents and kids fall in love with numbers. Also, recent studies confirm that more girls than boys feel “math anxiety.” Those girls grow up to be the moms who don’t enjoy math, and therefore won’t do it with their kids. As an aunt, here’s your chance to break the cycle and set an awesome example for your nieces – and maybe inspire their moms, too.
So how do we make math fun and real? Numbers grace every aspect of our regular daily lives. Highlighting the size and scale and patterns of things makes math friendly and unintimidating, setting the stage for achievement in school. And special events like Thanksgiving make it even easier to stir the pot.
Use cooking time to learn about fractions. Whether you’re making mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie, cooking and baking are all about fractions. ½ cup of sugar, ¼ tsp of nutmeg…it’s never all round numbers in cooking. Have the kids help you prepare the Thanksgiving feast, and teach them fractions in the process. Using water and measuring cups, little ones can count out the number of ¼ cups that go into 1 cup.
Weigh the turkey. Take kids to the grocery store to pick out the turkey, and introduce them to weight measurements. See how much a small turkey weighs, then compare it to a much larger one. You can even make it a guessing game: whoever guesses the right weight wins. And finally, make sure you cook the turkey the right amount of time! That’s a useful calculation in itself.
Make setting the table fun by counting. Whether you’re hosting a big dinner party or just some friends and family, have your children set the table and practice counting while they’re doing it. Count the number of knives, forks, spoons, etc. for each place setting, then multiply it out for the whole table.
Kids love feeling like grown-up helpers, so pointing out the numbers as they go is like sneaking broccoli into their ice cream: they’ll never notice that it’s doing wonders for them. So for this Thanksgiving, don’t be a turkey – show your smarts as an aunt and do some math!
Published: November 20, 2012