This activity is near and dear to my heart. My grandfather was a nut grower. I remember playing in the basement of his home with a variety of small metal nut-cracking devices of various sizes; I was in awe of their mechanical inner-workings.
There were always nuts at my grandma and grandpa’s house. Now that I’m grown up, nuts are a pantry staple at my house too. Both my sons (and husband) love them. To make snack time into math time, I created an activity with a can of Planter’s mixed nuts.
1. Alphabetize names of nuts.
First, I gave my son six identification cards with photos and pictures of each variety of nut from the mix. I asked him to put the cards in order, alphabetizing them by the names of the nuts. (Download the nut ID cards I made here.)
2. Sort nuts.
Then I put a ½ cup of mixed nuts on a plate and told my son to sort the nuts, putting each nut in the little bowls I’d placed on top of the ID cards.
3. Tally each kind of nut. Skip count the tally marks.
Next, I poured each type of nut out and then dropped it back into its bowl, while my son made tally marks on his worksheet. To help him I counted, “I, 2, 3, 4, cross through on 5.” When done making tally marks, he skip counted by 5s to determine how many nuts of that kind there were and recorded the number on his worksheet, answering “how many?” for each type of nut.
4. Write the names of nuts in order from greatest to least number of nuts.
5. Taste each. Write the names of nuts in order from yummiest to yuckiest.
My son took his time tasting each and judged their flavor critically; I was shocked at how insistent he was in getting the order right (NOTE: at this point I was thinking, "oh goody, all the brazil nuts are mine, mine, mine!").
When he had completed the activity, he looked at me matter-of-factly and told me that when his little brother got old enough, I should do this activity with him; it was THAT cool!
Download the answer sheet I made here and watch your kid(s) GO NUTS!