Fun Statistics Activities for Kids
I know you probably read the title of this post and asked yourself why elementary students would ever need to know statistics. Well, they don’t exactly, but that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t still benefit from some subtle exposure to the concept! April is National Statistics & Mathematics Awareness Month, and is the perfect opportunity to add in some fun statistics activities to your instruction. If this is something you would like to do, here are a few (age appropriate) ideas!
1. Play SNAKE.
SNAKE is a fun math dice game that loosely involves probability, as well as a little bit of risk! This game is played in 5 rounds – one for each letter of the word “snake.” In each round, the teacher will roll two dice, and students will add or multiply the numbers together and write down the total, which is also their score. After each roll, students have the opportunity to either stay in the round, or go out. If they stay in, they will continue adding points to their score. If they go out, they keep their points for the round, but cannot add to it.
A round ends when either all students have chosen to go out, OR the teacher rolls two ones. If this happens, all students still in the game lose ALL their points for that round.
It’s a game of probability and chance, but your students will love it and sharpen up their math skills, too!
2. Roll & Tally
A slightly more simple dice game, that also doubles as a fun statistics activity, would be a basic roll and tally game. Basically, students roll a die a certain number of times, tallying which number it lands on each time. At the end, students can add up their tallies to see which number the die landed on the most and the least.
Step up the game slightly by having students make predictions first as to which number they think will be rolled the most! Alternatively, you can also play this game with spinner.
3. Weather Tracking and Making Predictions
One way to integrate probability and statistics into science is by having students observe daily weather patterns. Taking some time each day to observe the weather and write it down in a weather journal can help students form predictions about the weather for the next day.
Spring is an especially great time to do this, since there are many changes in the weather around this time anyway! It can help students be extra challenged by trying to make accurate predictions.
4. Rock, Paper, Scissors
One more idea for a fun statistics activity is to play Rock, Paper, Scissors! Most people aren’t consciously thinking about this while playing, but Rock, Paper, Scissors is all about probability! Players are always trying to guess what motion their opponent is most likely to play.
You can turn this explicitly into a math game, having students track the number of times their opponent plays each motion (similar to the Roll & Tally game). Or, you can just use it regularly throughout the month to help students determine things like who will go first in a game. Again, we don’t need to teach our students explicitly about statistics right now – but some exposure is beneficial!