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Edible Nests and Maths

I’m very excited to have Allison from Train up a Child guests post on Rainy Day Mum today. A regular of Tuesday Tots Allison’s ideas for activities are fantastic. Here she shares some cooking and math activities for us.
Hello Rainy Day Mum readers.  What a pleasure to be guest posting over here today.  I love to teach my boys through hands on experiences and sensory exploration, and I’m eager to share a creative way to incorporate math and play.

We recently did a unit study on nests.  To demonstrate how birds make their nests we made some edible nests.  My five year old took charge of cooking.  He shredded the wheat, measured all the ingredients, stirred the peanut butter and chocolate on the stove top, and mixed everything together.  While stirring he complained that it was hard work and that he was getting tired.  It was the perfect opportunity to explain that building a nest is indeed hard work for a bird.  While making this delicious snack we had a wonderful discussion about working hard, persevering, and keeping at it until achieving the desired result.
The ingredients were simple, and these nests hardly took any time at all.
     grass – Shredded Wheat – 2 large biscuits, shredded
twigs – chow mein noodles – 2 cups
mud – peanut butter and chocolate chips – 1.5 cups of each
Melt peanut butter and chocolate on low heat, stirring constantly.  Once the mud is melted and blended add the twigs and grass.  Line two cookie sheets with wax paper and form nests from the mixture.  Refrigerate the nests until hardened.
Once the nests were ready we played some number games using marshmallows as eggs.
Using magnet numbers I put a number in front of each nest and had my boys fill in the nests with the proper amount of eggs.
My five year old also did a few addition problems using the nests.  I filled the first two nests with some eggs, and he found the sum.  We also did a couple subtraction problems this way.
After the math lesson we all enjoyed these tasty treats together.  Note:  they are very rich.  I made them large enough to hold a good amount of eggs, but half a nest was more than enough.
I did this activity with my three and five year old boys.  If working with a younger child I would use numbers in order and only go up to numbers he already knows or is ready to learn.  For an older child I would vary which nest I left empty in the addition and multiplication problems, use more eggs, use more nests, and add it multiplication and division.  There are truly so many possibilities for an activity like this, and it can easily be adapted for a family with children of varying ages.
[custom_author=Allison @ Train Up a Child]



  1. I love the photos here! YUM! My boys would love this. The nest aspect is fantastic- we’ll have to give it a try one of these days πŸ™‚

  2. My mother used to make these. They are wonderful. I like the idea of the math with it. Will have to use that extension. Thanks.
    Cathie at toddlersthroughpreschool.com

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