This Thanksgiving, Cook Up Some Math Skills

Hard_Math_FB_PromoWhen our kids are learning how to read, we’re so excited to have them practice reading every chance we get. Street signs, cereal boxes, bedtime books — are all opportunities to help our kids get comfortable with reading and show off their skills.

When it comes to math, however, it doesn’t always seem as natural to incorporate practice into our daily routine.

But Thanksgiving is a GREAT time to work on math skills!

Whether measuring ingredients for a favorite recipe, or incorporating some math trivia, there are ample opportunities to build those math skills. Here are some fun questions to ask your kids while you’re in the kitchen.

Remember, they don’t necessarily need to come up with the answer quickly—and depending on their age or comfort level you can have them do it on paper or in their heads. It’s all about getting them comfortable with problem solving!


1. It takes 20 minutes to cook 1 pound of turkey in the oven. So how many minutes does it take to cook a 10lb turkey?
2. If we have to make 2 pumpkin pies and the recipe calls for 1/3 a cup of sugar in each pie, how many cups of sugar total do we need?
3. We have to set the table. There are 4 of us and each person needs 2 forks (one for the main course and one for dessert). So how many forks do we need to get out of the drawer?
4. If there are 12 pieces of pumpkin pie and there are 4 of us, how many pieces can we have? (trick question: you all get one and I get 8)

We all use math every day—and family time in the kitchen is a great chance to teach our kids real world applications of math skills. Together, you can show how figuring out different ways to solve problems helps us in everyday life, not just on a math quiz.

Hope you have a delicious, wonderful, family-filled Thanksgiving!


Jim Cowen is the Executive Director of the Collaborative for Student Success.