We have been using our muffin tin for way more than baking. Ever since my daughter was little, we used it to practice her fine-motor skills with the pom-pom transfer activity. Now that my kids are older, we are taking the good ol’ muffin tin out to practice letter recognition, sight words, and math!
The preparation is simple and the kids have tons of fun learning. Some of the games we play with the muffin tin allow my kids to work together, which is always encouraged. And since we are using ping-pong balls, the activities also give the kids an opportunity to exercise their hand-eye coordination and fine motor control skills!
There are so many ways you can play these games, but all you need are:
- Muffin tin (we used the 12-cup pan)
- Construction paper
- Ping-pong balls (or pom-poms or any other type of objects that fit into the muffin cups)
To set up the activity, I cut circles out of construction paper that would fit at the bottom of each cup. Then depending on which game your kid wants to play, you write the corresponding letters, numbers, or words on the circles.
Muffin Pan Literacy and Math Games
Use your creativity and make up different games you can play with the materials listed above! Here are the ones we played:
Muffin Tin Number War Game
Set-Up: For this activity, you need to write 12 different numbers on the paper circles and place them in the muffin tin. For simplicity’s sake, we just wrote 1 through 12.
Rules: Each player takes turns bouncing his or her ping-pong ball into the muffin tin. The person with the greatest number wins! If your ball doesn’t make it on the muffin tin, then it’s an automatic zero.
Muffin Tin Addition Game
Set-Up: If you played the Muffin Tin Number War above, then you can just leave the numbered paper circles where they are. Otherwise, you need to write 12 numbers on the paper circles and place them in each cup of the muffin tin.
Rules: There are two ways to play this. 1) Players bounce their ping-pong balls into the muffin tin. Whatever numbers the balls land on, one player must add up all the numbers. The players take turns doing the addition until one person makes a mistake – then the other player wins!
Muffin Tin Add-Them-All Game
Set-Up: Same as the Muffin Tin Addition Game above.
Rules: Each player takes turns bouncing the ping-pong ball into the muffin tin. Whatever the ball land on, you must add the number to the running sum. For example, for the first two turns, one ball landed on 3 and another landed on 12. The sum is 3+12=15. Then the next ball landed on 11. The player must now add 15 and 11 to get 26 to not get eliminated.
Note: I had my preschooler play this game with my first grader. Since she doesn’t know how to add yet, my preschooler decided that she would bounce the balls and yell out what number the ball landed on. Then her brother would do the addition. This made mommy happy because my preschooler was practicing number recognition while my first grader practiced addition.
Muffin Tin Alphabet Game
Set-Up: Write 12 letters on the paper circles – you pick which ones! We have a set of magnetic letters from our beloved All About Reading set, so we just used those.
Rules: For kids who are learning their alphabets, the game is simple. You bounce the ball and wherever the ball land on, you need to say the letter name. You can also modify and the players need to pronounce the phoneme.
For older kids, they will need to name something that starts with the letter the ball lands on. For example, if the ball lands on “a,” they can say “alligator” or “apple.”
Muffin Tin Sight Words Game
Set-Up: Write 12 sight words on the paper circles and place them in the muffin cups.
Rules: Players take turns bouncing the balls into the muffin tin. Whatever sight word the ball lands on, the player must say. If the player does not recognize the sight word, then he or she is eliminated!
Final Words on Muffin Tin Literacy and Math Games
We loved using ping-pong balls for these muffin tin learning games because they add another layer of difficulty and fun to the game. You can use whatever balls you have in the house for the games!
For more fun activities using common household items, check out:
- Vertical Bowling with Plastic Cups
- Popsicle Stick Catapult: STEM Activity
- Fun Indoor Games with Plastic Cups and Balloons