Ahoy, mateys! This pirate-inspired recipe helps children practice math skills while preparing a delicious snack at home. In this activity, we are measuring the height of our treasure chests (which are recycled, by the way), counting and dividing fruit, and of course — eating a yummy fruit salad at the end.
Arrrrrre ye ready?
This activity will help your child:
- Count by ones
- Practice dividing and sorting
- Share with others
- Follow instructions
- Your child’s favorite fruit. Examples: bananas, strawberries, grapes, peaches, mango, jicama, and blueberries
- Empty and clean yogurt cups or small plastic containers
- Markers or crayons
- White paper
Step 1: Make your treasure chests from your recycled yogurt cups. First, measure the height of each yogurt cup or plastic container on the long edge of the white paper.
Step 2: Then, cut a strip of paper that is as wide as the containers are tall. Cut one per container.
Step 3: Draw wooden boards on the strips of paper and color them in, so they look like wood. Add locks and other pirate-like decorations to your “wooden boards” to keep pirates from swiping your fruit salad “treasure.”
Step 4: Wrap a strip of “wood” around each plastic container to transform it into a “wooden” treasure chest.
Step 5: Make your delicious fruit salad with your favorite fruits (or even vegetables!). Wash all the fruit going into the salad. Cut each banana into 16 pieces – that’s 10 pieces, plus another 6! Cut each strawberry into 4 pieces – that’s 3 pieces, plus another 1! Cut the peaches into bitesize pieces. If the grapes are large, cut them in half – that’s right down the middle! Place each fruit into its own bowl.
Bonus: Ask your child which fruits are smaller and which are larger. Can they line them up in order by size?
Step 6: Now fill your chests with fruity treasure! For each treasure chest, count out: 5 banana slices, 6 strawberry pieces, 7 grapes, 8 peach bites, and 9 blueberries. This helps young children develop one-to-one correspondence as they count, meaning they are matching one number word with one object.
Step 7: Share your treasure! Hand one treasure chest to each member of the household. Then, dig in! The treasure is yours for the taking! Arrrr!
Bonus: Are there any fruit salad treasure chests left over? How many? Would your child like to share this with a neighbor or friend?
Keep the conversation going
- Use the extra pieces of fruit (or uneaten bits of treasure) to make fruity patterns. Decide on a pattern – one banana, one strawberry, one banana, one strawberry.
- Turn the design into a fruit kabob by threading the fruit pieces onto a wooden skewer, plastic straw, or pretzel stick.
- Start a pattern for your child to finish, and then ask your child to come up with a pattern for you to finish.
- “Big Dog, Little Dog,” by P.D. Eastman
- “Feast for 10,” by Cathryn Falwell
- “Quack and Count,” by Keith Baker
- “The Chicken Problem,” by Billy Aronson
This activity was inspired by “Peg + Cat: The Pirates’ ‘Great Banana’ Fruit Salad” on PBS LearningMedia