Fruit loops are a great learning manipulative! Students who are otherwise unlikely to work at a math center will jump at the chance to sit and play with cereal. I like to buy the big generic bag at the dollar store for this center. For this activity, I paired it with a foam block and kabob skewers (also from the dollar store) to create an opportunity for them to practice sorting and graphing.
At first, many of the kiddos were happy to just thread the cereal onto the sticks, with no regard for color or pattern. I don’t mind this (of course!) because it’s great fine motor practice. Most kids also just need time to explore and play with the materials at their own pace.
Soon a couple of the kids started to sort the colors into the bowls at the table. Then they moved the fruit loops onto the skewers to create a color graph. I loved hearing their comments, “I have more blue than purple!” and “Look how tall my pinks are!”
After making the graph, one of the students took her fruit loops off and declared that she was going to make, “A Rainbow Graph.” She then put them cereal on each skewer in a rainbow pattern.
So this one little (easy!) activity turned into fine motor practice, sorting, graphing and patterning. That’s a huge win in my book!