Unforgotten

Unforgotten

Start watching
In Their Own Words

In Their Own Words

Start watching
Professor T

Professor T (UK)

Start watching
SoCal Update

SoCal Update

Start watching
The Latino Experience

The Latino Experience

Start watching
Us

Us

Start watching
PBS NewsHour

PBS NewsHour

Start watching
Halifax: Retribution

Halifax: Retribution

Start watching
Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders

Start watching
X5ZQAor-show-poster2x3-OqYWNwS.jpg

Atlantic Crossing

Start watching
gc2Zpzc-show-poster2x3-le96lbT.jpg

Life at the Waterhole

Start watching
NOVA

NOVA

Start watching
cYWAg84-show-poster2x3-LpD4fIm.jpg

Finding Your Roots

Start watching
Antiques Roadshow

Antiques Roadshow

Start watching
Artbound

Artbound

Start watching
Membership Card
Support PBS SoCal by becoming a member today.
Other Ways to Give Card
Learn about the many ways to support PBS SoCal.
Connect with Our Team Card
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

Family Math Activity: Pack a Math Lunch

A smiley face made out of food items on a yellow paper plate
You can arrange your food in so many ways! | Yesenia Prieto
In this activity, you'll pack a Bento Box to practice counting with your child.
Support Provided By

Esta actividad está disponible en español.

Pack a special lunch with your child called a Bento Box! Make it a math lunch by counting together while arranging lunch foods in fun new ways.

What is a Bento Box?

A Bento Box is a single-portion meal common in Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese cultures. In Bento Boxes, food is purposefully placed and can be arranged in countless ways. Bento Boxes can be simple or elaborate. More elaborate arrangements can even look like people, animals, monuments and plants.

Materials

Snack items like  small crackers, apple slices and cheese squares are arranged on a plate
You can use whatever snacks you have on hand, like small crackers, apple slices, cheese squares, etc. | Yesenia Prieto

Start with a plate or tray on which to arrange the food. Next, choose lunch foods that are small but numerous, such as baby carrots, goldfish crackers, apple slices or pretzel sticks, to create the Bento Box.

Building the Bento Box

cheese, apples, carrot slices and grapes are arranged in the shape of a cheese farm animal eating grapes from carrot stick trees.
This arrangement depicts a pastoral scene made of cheese, apples, carrot slices and grapes. | Yesenia Prieto

With your child, pick something you would both like to create using the small pieces of food. The object or design should use at least 10 pieces of food. You can choose any object! It could be your child's favorite TV character, a firetruck, a flower, etc. Your child can also start with a simple design, like placing the items around the plate. Snap a picture of the Bento Box you make!

Practice Counting

As you place the food together, count each quantity out loud together. When you have completed the Bento Box, ask your child how many of each item they used. For example, you can ask "How many goldfish did you use to make the woman's hair? Let's count together!" To add a challenge, use more items of food to count to higher numbers.

Support Provided By

Related Workshop

This activity is part of our Number Sense and Counting workshop, which helps parents and caregivers playfully build children's ability to count.