Ahhh wintertime...it's the time of year when it's actually appealing to stay inside, especially if you can treat yourself to a warm cup of hot cocoa! I personally like to envision myself cuddling on the couch with my dogs, a Netflix Christmas movie on in the background. 😍
I know kids love hot chocolate, too, because at least once per winter, my third grade students request a hot chocolate party as a class reward. With some trepidation, I've taken on their requests over the years. I've made hot chocolate in a crockpot (tip: don't expect one batch to be enough) and also used the not-so-reliable Keurig from the staff workroom (that thing really puts in work, and it shows). So if your students or children are already craving hot chocolate, why not sneak in some learning? Here are some math ideas to get you started:
1. Conduct a Survey
There's more than one way to make hot chocolate! Do a family taste test of different hot chocolate brands, or survey the class about their preferred hot chocolate toppings. Let your child practice recording and organizing their data, and then challenge older kids to graph the results. Younger kids would benefit from making the graph together. You can make an online graph too! On the website linked, you can click on "activities" and change the type of graph (bar graph, picture graph, etc.). Here is a simple graph you could also print:
2. Practice Skip Counting or Multiplication
Create real-world scenarios where students could solve or multiply to find the total. Example: There are four people in our family. If everyone had five marshmallows in their hot cocoa, how many marshmallows would we use total? Let your child divvy out the marshmallows to check their answer! You can also simulate this activity with practice activities I created. Students can draw the marshmallows on each mug and skip count to find the total.
3. Measure Ingredients to Make Holiday Gifts
Assemble your own hot chocolate mason jars with this easy recipe that makes enough to fill four 8 oz. jars. I like that this recipe has kid-friendly directions and simple measurements (cups and teaspoons only). If you are making this in the classroom as a parent gift, you could assemble a batch in a small group and have the students take turns measuring the different ingredients. Here's another recipe from Food Network.
4. Make Marshmallow Patterns
Who says you shouldn't play with your food?? Use these colorful marshmallows to create a variety of patterns before tossing them in your cocoa. Most kids can easily create an AB repeating pattern (red/green/red/green...) but challenge them to think outside the box (AAB, ABB). Add in regular white marshmallows to increase the possibilities!
Extra marshmallows can be used in this craftivity!
Which activity is the best fit for your home or classroom? Do you have other ideas to share? I'd love to hear from you!