Did you know your child can learn and be entertained with something as simple as cereal? This activity can be adjusted for all ages of children to teach and challenge them. These may be materials that you already have around the house or are widely available and inexpensive. These activities have very little set up or clean up so you can do them when you need to fill just a few extra minutes or have a whole afternoon.
What you need:
Having all of these materials will let you change this activity for older children. Depending on your child’s age you may not need or want to use all of these
- Fruit Loops cereal (or something similar)
- Colored bowls, cups or paper
Let children pick up pieces of cereal and help them put it into a bowl. Some infants may need smaller pieces if they want to eat some. Name the colors that your child picks up.
Put out different colored dishes or even use a marker or crayon to draw colored circles on a paper to put cereal into. Help them to sort the cereal by colors, be sure to name the colors as they sort. For a harder challenge, ask your child to find certain colors for you. Count the cereal in each pile. You can also help kids to string the cereal like beads on a necklace. Be sure to tie a big enough knot so your cereal doesn’t fall off the string.
Preschoolers will also enjoy sorting the cereal by colors and stringing pieces to make their own snack jewelry. You can challenge older children by creating patterns with their cereal or on the necklace. Can they make a pattern with 2 colors? How about 3 or 4 colors? Count the pieces of cereal on your string or in each pile. Which color has the biggest pile?
Learning with cereal:
Picking up cereal or manipulating it onto a string helps children of all ages build their fine motor skills, the same muscles that help kids hold and write with a pencil. Playing together on this activity can also help build your child’s attention span to be able to sit and participate in longer activities at home and school. When you talk to your child about the colors, their sorting, even the patterns on their snack jewelry, you are helping to build their vocabulary and language skills. Counting and sorting the colors are beginning math skills.
Storing the Cereal:
If you do this activity on a clean table, with clean hands you may let your child eat the cereal when they are done. Most children will want to snack as they sort anyway. If you want to save the cereal for another day, it can be placed in any zipper storage bag or plastic container with a lid.