Three-year-old Amelie Strzalkowski, a neuro-oncology patient at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, loves colors and likes to ask others what their favorite color is. She and her mom keep track of all the answers they get and then Amelie’s 6-year-old sister Anya creates a chart tracking all the responses. It’s a super fun way for the family to engage with others throughout the day and allows them to work on a little project together.
Try creating your own chart or graph at home. Survey activities for kids can be fun, easy and educational. Let your child pick any topic, it can be something like Amelie’s, where she asks others for a response (what’s your favorite animal, favorite food, color of their bedroom…) or it can involve counting objects (the number of red/blue/green objects in the kitchen, the color of houses on your street, number of circles, squares/triangle-shaped objects in the living room…). The options are limitless and your child can probably think of some fun stuff he or she wants to count.
When doing your counting or tracking of answers, teach your child to make a tally sheet. That’s a simple grid that has the item you are tracking down the side and then a spot to mark a tally every time you find one or the answer is given. Add a number column where can total up the tallies.
For example, if you’re counting the color of houses on your street, your tally might look like this:
With your data in hand, you’re ready to create your graph. A super simple option is the bar graph. You can create this using graph paper if you have any, or use a simple sheet of paper and draw on the lines. A graph of our house data is shown here.
You can even get creative and rather than a simple bar, draw small figures. For example, in this chart, your child could draw two blue houses, one yellow, etc. For some graphs, you might want to consider cutting pictures out of old magazines and gluing them to the chart. Have fun with the project.
Another interesting way to look at the data is in a pie chart. Take the total number objects and each gets a representative “piece of the pie.” Our house counting project would look like this if we created a pie chart.
Yes, school’s out for summer, but there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate a little learning into your everyday. Creating charts and graphs is one fun way to work together and learn. Brainstorm different ideas for what data you can collect. Maybe take a family vote on dinner or where to spend a weekend day!
Take the next step:
- What graphing or tally activities could you try after building our DIY marshmallow shooter?
- Try out our DIY ball and ramp activity, and think of what types of graphs you can make from there.
- Learn about the body! Check out our anatomy activity from Camp Little Victors 2014.
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital is consistently ranked one of the best hospitals in the country. It was nationally ranked in all ten pediatric specialties in U.S. News Media Group’s “America’s Best Children’s Hospitals,” and among the 10 best children’s hospitals in the nation by Parents Magazine. In December 2011, the hospital opened our new 12-story, state-of-the-art facility offering cutting-edge specialty services for newborns, children and women.