My wife and I only let our kids choose a few pieces of candy each day, and we've noticed that there is definitely a pattern. Chocolate disappears first, then Twizzlers, and so on and so forth until what's left is half a bucket of the less popular treats that slowly dwindle down until we decide that they just need to be pitched.
The other day, my wife was dipping into some of the goodies that kids usually don't choose first. As she was munching down some Smarties one at a time, I noticed that she was methodically sorting them, lining them up, and moving them into patterns.
It gave me a great idea to practice some basic math skills with my three young boys. I gave each of them a pack of Smarties and a pack of Sweet Tarts. Then I used the candy to facilitate some activities that they would not only enjoy, but would pay off in an extra little snack after the lesson. Brain food first, right?
I had them compare the size of the Smarties to that of the Sweet Tarts. Then I had them use the candies to measure some simple objects like the length of a pencil. After they were finished measuring, which they really enjoyed, I had them sort the colors and do some fractions and movie them around to make different geometric shapes.
They've never had so much fun learning about math with dear old dad. And now, Smarties and Sweet Tarts aren't just the names of candies in the Cooper house; they're units of measurement.