When I first looked at the Math Cub Scout Belt Loops requirements, I knew I would need to think about the “five activities within your home or school that require the use of mathematics.” It seemed pretty easy, but as an adult, we do so many things automatically that we don’t stop and say, “Wow, I just used math!”
I made a list of 10 things your Cub Scout can do to complete requirement 1 of the Mathematics Belt Loop. These are simple enough that even your Tigers can do them. And you can make them more challenging for the older boys.
If they earn it while a Webelos, Mathematics Belt Loop completion counts for either requirement 7 of the Scholar Activity Badge or requirement 10 of the Engineer Activity Badge. The boys can’t use it for both, though.
Have your Cub Scouts write down all the activities they do so that they can share them with their dens.
10 Everyday Math Activities
- Cut pizza - This is one of the easiest ways to show fractions. Older boys can cut the pizza themselves, and younger boys can watch while you cut. Cut the pizza in half, and ask your boys how much of the pizza they would have if you gave them one of the pieces. Slice your halves into fourths and ask them again. This is a good stopping point for Tigers and Wolves. Cut your fourths into eighths, and continue the conversation for Bears and Webelos.
- Estimate distance with a walk or drive - Take a walk in your neighborhood. Ask your Cub, "How far do you think it is to your friend's house?" Set the pedometer app on your iPhone or Android device and start walking! When you get there, check the distance and see how close your son's estimate was. If the weather isn't cooperating for a walk, you can do the similar activity in your car. As you're stopped at a red light, set the trip function on your odometer. Ask your Cub Scout to tell you when he thinks you've driven a mile. Check the mileage when he tells you to see how close you've gotten.
- Use money - Pull out the change jar, and ask your son to give you 56 cents or 92 cents or any other amount. Give him a dollar bill and ask him to give you change for a 34 cent purchase. After you've practiced at home, head out to a store and have your Cub Scout calculate your change in a real life setting. A game with play money such as Monopoly is also a great way to practice your money counting skills.
- Play a counting game - I LOVE games--especially board games. There are so many possibilities here. My boys and I like to play dominoes and Yahtzee which require you to count in your head. And not long ago, we played Zeus on the Loose. I posted about it on Facebook.
- Go grocery shopping - The grocery store has a wealth of math opportunities. In addition to making change, your older boys can calculate the price per ounce while the younger boys can add the amounts for a multi-item purchase. For example, ask the Tigers and Wolves how much it would cost if you buy 2 cucumbers that are $1 each.
- Play Battleship - This game has been around for years, so it definitely appeals to little boys! They're so busy trying to blow up each others' ships that they don't realize they are learning about graph coordinates! Of course, you'll have to tell them after the game so that they can write it down on their list.
- Plan dinner - Have your Cub Scout count out the number of forks and plates you'll need for your family dinner. The bonus for you is that they can easily set the table for you! :) The older boys can calculate amounts of ingredients. For example, how many pounds of hamburger meat do you need? Each burger is 4 ounces, and Dad and the Webelos will eat 2 burgers.
- Bake a cake - Even the youngest Tigers can help bake a cake. Give them the measuring cup and put them to work! Make it more challenging by only giving them the half or quarter cup to measure out 2 cups of flour.
- Make a budget - How often have your boys whined that they want a new $60 video game? Mine do on a regular basis! Next time they do, have them make a budget for how they'll pay for the new game. They can include any allowance money you might give them. Or create a list of extra chores that you're willing to pay for them to do. Then, have them figure out how long it will take to earn $60 (plus tax, of course!) if they don't do any extra chores. The boys can manipulate their timeline by adding in some of the extra chores.
- Have a lemonade stand - Most kids love the idea of running their own lemonade stand. This article on About.com gives a very detailed account of using math in your Cub Scout's lemonade stand venture.
Even though I’ve listed 10 things, your son only has to do 5 to satisfy the Math Cub Scout Belt Loop requirements. And remind them to take their list to their next den meeting to share!
What has your Cub done to meet this requirement?
Yours in Scouting,
P.S. If these Math Belt Loop suggestions were helpful, sign up below for more ideas! And by doing so, you’ll be entered into my monthly drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. The winner will be randomly selected from all of my subscribers.
P.P.S. This post contains my affiliate links to products that I mention.