A quick and easy math activity that you can do at home with kids using only markers and paper towels! The answers magically appear when you add water! “Magic Math” is a hit in our house and a fun way for elementary school aged kids to practice addition, subtraction, and more!
Magic Math Activity with Markers & Paper Towels
Right now my 5-year old daughter is working on simple addition and subtraction problems.
The best way to practice math is through repetition, but of course doing the same thing over and over gets boring for kids. And when kids are bored, they stop paying attention.
So the challenge is to find ways to do math problems that kids haven’t tried yet and that get them excited.
Recently I saw a video by Amy at Learning and Exploring Through Play that demonstrated how to make drawings that magically appeared when you dropped them in water.
I thought that would be really cool to do with math problems too!
What if you wrote the problems on the paper towel, and then the answer magically appears when you drop in water?
Well today we tried it…and it was awesome!!
My daughter loved this magic math activity, and anything that gets my kids excited about math is a win in my book!
I hope you love this simple math activity as much as we do!
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What You Need:
- Paper towels — I find that thicker, absorbent paper towels work best for this activity. However, I know that right now we don’t have a lot of choices about the brands of paper towels that are available so you can definitely use whatever you have on hand at home!
- Permanent marker — We use a permanent maker to draw the math problem itself, because the permanent ink won’t bleed.
- Washable markers — Washable ink is a must for writing the answers because we want the ink to bleed through the top paper towel sheet.
How to Set Up Our Magic Math Activity
First, take a few sheets of paper towels and fold them in half like a greeting card.
On the top of the paper towels, write your math equations in permanent marker — as many as you’d like or can fit on the sheet. Leave the answer blank.
On the bottom half, directly beneath the blank space you left for the answer to each problem, write the answer in a colorful washable marker.
Pour water in the bottom of a plate, baking dish, or another type of container. It doesn’t need to be a lot of water, just enough to cover the bottom of your vessel.
When you place the folded paper towel in the dish of water, the answers will appear!
More of our favorite learning at home activities:
Magic Math Activity
- Paper towels
- Permanent marker black
- Washable markers any colors
- Take a sheet of paper towel and fold it in half like a greeting card.
- On the top of the paper towel, write math equations in permanent marker -- as many as you'd like or can fit on the sheet. Leave the answer space blank.
- On the bottom half, directly beneath the blank space you left for the answer to each problem, write the answer in a colorful washable marker.
- Add water to a dish, just enough to cover the bottom.
- When you place the folded paper towel in the dish of water, the answers to the equations will appear!
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