We’re adventurous foodies 364 days a year. The one day we’re not? Thanksgiving. It’s the one meal of the year rooted in family tradition. The only thing that may vary is how the bird is cooked (although we’ve never fried it). Turkey. My grandfather’s stuffing recipe, tweaked by my dad over the years. Gravy. Mashed Potatoes. Creamed Onions. Candy Carrots. Green Beans.

So I asked the Bug: if you could make a kid’s Thanksgiving dinner — you cooked it with an adult’s help– what would you make? Her answer wasn’t so surprising: turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots and green beans, and hot fudge sundaes. {She doesn’t much cared for creamed onions — not so shocked they didn’t make the list!}

Thanksgiving dinner prep is a great ‘teachable’ moment. You’re often doubling or tripling recipes, so it’s a perfect opportunity to engage your child in real life math. Measuring, double recipes, fractions — it’s all there!

My dad cooks for everyone on Thanksgiving, so we decided to have a ‘pregame’ turkey dinner this year a few weeks early. A total Kidsgiving — engaging two of our three littles in the process (Baby M is still a bit small!). They planned everything from shopping, to the dinner prep, to the table settings. Using tips for the Camelot Learning experts at Open Door Care, I was able to seamlessly introduce and reinforce math concepts. A whole new twist on ‘sneaky chef.’ Instead of sneaking veggies into brownies, we were sneaking fractions into mashed potatoes.

It’s a fun new tradition for us and maybe your family as well!

thanksgiving math fun

Meal Planning, Shopping, and Budgeting
As I mentioned earlier, the Bug knew exactly what she wanted to make and as soon as she said hot fudge sundaes, her brother was on board. Our first step was to make a list of all of the ingredients we needed. Then we went to the store and wrote down the total for each ingredient on our list. I helped her how to enter the amounts on to a calculator to add them up (adding those manually is a bit beyond her abilities right now, but your kiddo might be a different story!). The Bug’s class is working on counting by tens in school, so after we added up our total, I asked her how many $10 bills she would need to pay for it. She counted the number of “tens,” paid for her items and then counted the change. She had ‘enough left” to go buy a treat from the checkout register. “Because you know mom, if you’re doing the work, you deserve a treat.” Words to live by in my opinion.

Fraction Fun
Thanksgiving is one of those times you’re usually cooking for a crowd. My dad’s stuffing recipe feeds a small army, so for our “Kidsgiving” we had to cut the recipe in half. Reducing fractions is not something the Bug is doing in school yet, but it was an easy concept to introduce with manipulatives and reinforce the simple addition and subtraction she is currently learning. I put three counting bears on the counter and said each bear represented one cup. I mentioned that to make the right number of servings (6), we needed two cups — so how many bears would that be? We did that for each ingredient and wrote down our answers. “Pie Charts” also worked for figuring out some measurements, like tricky “1/2 cups” that needed to be reduced. {Thanksgiving pun, but hey – it works!}

Measuring and More
Accurate measuring is important, especially when it comes to baking. Not only does engaging your child in measuring help with fine motor skills, it’s a great way to talk about real world quantities. How many quarter cups are in a cup? Teaspoons in a tablespoon? Pints in a quart? We even talked about professions that require measuring. Accuracy in measuring is not just about cooking but cooking is a great place to start.

Table Setting
How many plates do you need for 5 people? Counting and setting out plates, utensils, and cups on the table is a great activity for preschoolers. They’ll love helping in a real tangible way, and the settings don’t need to be “Martha perfect.” This is ‘Kidsgiving’ after all. Get the craft supplies out and let them go to town on a centerpiece and place cards, too. You may just be surprised at what they create!

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Camelot Learning at Open Door Care

OD-banner-v0715Kids learn through experience and choice at Open Door Care, with Camelot Learning activities designed to accelerate student achievement through hands-on learning.

Open Door Care was focused on STEM (Science/Technology/Engineering/Math) through its Camelot Learning before STEM was an acronym. Kids learn through experience and choice at Open Door Care, with Camelot Learning activities designed to accelerate student achievement through hands-on learning. Open Door Care offers Camelot learning to every child every day and features cross-curricular learning filled with STEM concepts. Additionally, Open Door features Count Me In, an opportunity for children to practice and review math concepts utilizing math games.

In November, one of Open Door Care’s weekly Camelot Learning themes is Thanksgiving. This is a busy time of year for families but a time when families are doing many things together. What a great time to focus on science and math through family activities.