For some, jellybeans and Easter go hand-in-hand. But did you know National Jellybean Day is April 22? Sure, you can celebrate by eating the tasty confections, but there are so many fun, educational activities and games you can play with jellybeans any time of the year!
Think “math” as you teach your child to sort and classify jellybeans. Each child will need an empty egg carton and a handful of jellybeans. Have him place the jellybeans into individual egg cups according to color. Your child can now count how many beans of each color are in the cups.
Graphing is a fun activity that involves the whole family, as each member gives you their preferences of jellybeans. Ask for their favorite jellybean color; make this visual as you post the results on a chart. On one side, write all the colors of jellybeans used. Across the bottom, write numbers from 1-10. As the family member gives you his preference, color in one jellybean per answer. Which is the most and least popular color in your household?
Make Patterns with Jellybeans
Give each child a large wooden craft stick. They can glue small jellybeans onto the stick following a sample pattern that you have made. Start with simple patterns of two colors working up to three and four. Or let them come up with their own pattern. Variation: Cut paper jellybeans from colored construction paper and glue these onto craft sticks or strips of cardboard.
Make an "anticipation" jar to help your child count down the number of days until Easter, birthday or any special event. Place jellybeans in the jar equal to the number of days leading up to the event, allowing the child to enjoy one piece of candy per day. When the jellybeans are gone, it's time to celebrate!
Have your child place a few jellybeans inside plastic Easter eggs. Either glue or tape the egg shut. Play some lively music and shake your maracas to the beat! Experiment with other items (rice, sand, dried beans, pennies) to make different sounds.
Jelly, Jelly, Bean Game
Have the children sit in a circle. One player walks around the outside of the circle, touching the heads of each player calling out "jelly." Then he chooses a child and yells "bean" chasing him around the circle to an empty place. "Bean" now becomes "it" and starts the game again. This is a variation of the traditional game, "Duck, Duck, Goose.”
Gather large, clean bottle caps from household items such as laundry detergent or aerosol cans (anything that is a couple inches high). Glue these onto a heavy piece of cardboard or plywood. To play the game, give each child a handful of jellybeans. The player stands a certain distance from the caps and tosses the jellybeans into the caps. The player who gets the most beans inside the cups wins—or just play for fun!
Mix up your favorite recipe for sugar cookies or use refrigerator dough. Elongate the circles into an egg shape. Bake as directed. After they cool, frost with vanilla icing. Give your child a handful of jellybeans to decorate her cookie as she wishes.
Think “jellybeans” as you plan Easter activities for the kids in your family or neighborhood. They are readily available, colorful and so fun to eat!
Tania Cowling is an author, former teacher, and freelance writer.
Published: April 2014