Upcycle a cereal box into a scavenger hunt and math activity with this super simple DIY puzzle activity with a twist.
Here at my house, we like cereal. It is a perfectly acceptable lunch meal, right?
We also like learning in a fun way.
I have had no trouble finding hands-on ways to practice early math skills with my kids.
As they have gotten older, though, creating fun ways to practice certain “paper and pencil” math skills has gotten more difficult for me.
One solution I have found is to just take the skill and transfer it to a different medium.
In this case, a cereal box!
Hunt and solve cereal box math puzzle to the rescue!
Whether you are homeschooling or just looking for a fun learning activity for your kids (of any age!), this cereal box math puzzle will be a hit!
To Make Your Own Cereal Box Math Puzzle Activity, You Will Need:
- empty cereal box (or any other similar cardboard box from the recycling bin)
- something to write with
First, cut out the front off of your box to make your picture.
Then, cut that box front into as many pieces as you want.
I made 12 pieces for each of my kids.
Visit this post for tons more fun kids upcycled crafts and activities!
You can make the shapes more or less complicated depending on what you know your kids will be able to solve without frustration.
Next, write a math problem on each puzzle piece.
This cereal box puzzle is easily personalized for your kids skill levels.
My 2nd grader got 2 digit addition with regrouping and my kindergartener got addition and subtraction to 10.
Finally, you will need to hide the pieces around the room.
This adds some excitement to the activity and also helps get a little energy out as they go so they can keep focus.
Now the kids can go on a scavenger hunt for the puzzle pieces!
They can solve each math problem as they go or wait until they find all of the puzzle pieces.
The final step is to assemble the puzzle after the math has been solved.
Check out this cereal box counting puzzle for kids learning how to count!
Alternative Ways to Use This Upcycled Cereal Box Puzzle:
- For younger kids, write letters or numbers on the pieces for them to identify as they find each piece.
- You could also write sight words on the puzzle pieces instead of math problems for kiddos in the early school years.
- For super little ones, draw shapes or colors on the pieces. If my 1 1/2 year old had been awake for this activity, I would have tried that for him! No pressure for the child to identify the shapes or colors; simply point and say something like “You found purple!” when they discover the piece.
- Skip the learning element entirely and just have fun hunting for cereal box pieces and putting the puzzle together!
- No hiding necessary; you could bring this math puzzle with you to a restaurant to help pass the time while waiting for your food. If you lose a piece there, no big deal!
- Speaking of being at a restaurant, if your child is getting antsy, rip up the paper placemat, write numbers or letters or anything on the pieces, and hide them around the table. It may not be as easy to put it back together as a puzzle (unless you are more prepared than I am and carry scissors with you) but it will still be fun!
You don’t want to miss this jumbo DIY cardboard puzzle for babies!