Skittles Math: Counting, Sorting, and Graphing Skittles

Once upon a time... almost thirty years ago...I was a student teacher in a first grade classroom. My mentor teacher and I sat down together and came up with a fun math lesson using Skittles. I don't know where she got the idea from, but the students in the class loved it! Our lesson included reviewing color words, sorting and counting Skittles by color, and how to make and read a simple bar graph. Keep reading for a quick rundown of the activities we used in our math lesson and for a free printable for you to download!

Minilesson + printable. Children practice counting and sorting objects, recognizing basic colors & making bar graphs with this Skittles math activity.

Disclosure: Affiliate links to Amazon are included in this post.

Materials Needed for Skittles Math

Very few materials are needed for these Skittles math activities:
  • fun-sized packs of Skittles
  • a plate, bowl, muffin tin, little cups, etc. (I used a plastic egg tray.)
  • white paper
  • markers
  • optional: Counting Skittles bar graph

Activity #1: Making Predictions

Children start learning about making predictions at an early age. They learn that making a prediction is like making their smartest guess. Hold up a fun-size pack of Skittles and ask your students how they can figure out how many Skittles are in the pack without opening it up. Can they touch the pack and feel the Skittles inside of it? How many Skittles do they think are in there? What is their smartest guess? What is their prediction? Record their responses on an anchor chart. Then rip open the pack of Skittles, pour the Skittles onto a plate, and count how many were in the pack. Did anyone in your class make a correct prediction?

Skittles poured onto a plastic plate

Activity #2: Sorting Skittles by Color

After predicting the number of Skittles in the fun-size pack, sort the Skittles into groups by color. Some students will be able to identify the colors and sort them without much thought, whereas others may need some assistance. Review the names of colors as needed.

Skittles sorted by color in little cups

Activity #3: Counting Skittles

Another way to sort Skittles is by lining them by color on a piece of paper. Take a look at this photo. How many red Skittles do you see? How many orange Skittles? Yellow? Green? Purple? If time allows, have your students practice writing their numbers on the paper.

Skittles are lined up according to color

Activity #4: Making a Simple Bar Graph

Once your students are able to sort and count objects and recognize color words, they may be ready to take things to the next level... bar graphs! After a quick minilesson about bar graphs, give each of your students a fun-sized pack of Skittles and help them fill in the bar graph and the blanks as needed. If you'd like a copy of this bar graph to use with your students, feel free to download it by clicking the link below.

As an aside... there were three yellow Skittles on the graph... but a certain cat of mine snatched them up before I could take the photo. D'oh!

Counting Skittles Bar Graph by Kelly's Classroom Online

To download a FREE copy of this Skittles bar graph, (two pages in all), please click on the image above. Clicking this image will take you to the Teachers-Pay-Teachers third-party website. This is a FREE download-- no purchase necessary.

Did you enjoy reading about Skittles math? If so, check out these blog posts for more fun activities:

search words: skittles, candy, art, science, STEM, STEAM, math, maths, mathematics

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