Every parent needs a good coffee break now and then, especially when you need to beat the winter doldrums. Taking your kids along to the coffee shop won’t make it a quiet break, but with just a few simple math activities, you can turn it into a whole fun, educational experience for the whole family. You don’t even need to bring anything along – everything you need is found right there in the shop.

Try these easy math and geometry activities with your toddler or preschooler for a guilt-free trip to your favorite coffee shop.

### What You’ll Need

• 6-8 coffee stirrers

### Get Started

Start by grabbing 6 to 8 coffee stirrers, usually free and found near the shop counter.

Once you and your kids have settled in a table with warm drinks in hand, it’s time to get started with math fun!

Give your child the stirrers and challenge them to build shapes with the sticks. Ask, “What does a triangle look like?”

Depending on your child’s age, they might be experts at creating triangles, rectangles, and squares, and you can help them with building pentagons, hexagons, and octagons that cover the entire table. This is a great opportunity to teach your kids new geometry terms and shapes they might not have seen before.

Next, your kids can work on simple addition and subtraction with the help of the stirrers. “I don’t know how to add,” my five-year-old declared when I said we’d be practicing that next. I encouraged her to use the sticks to give it a try.

“If you have two sticks, and I give you three, how many do you have?” I asked.

Use the sticks to ask questions about adding and subtracting, and you’ll likely see your kids gain confidence with their math skills as well.

Finally, use the sticks as a tool to teach basic measuring for length. Ask questions like, “Is my coffee cup longer or shorter than the stick?”

You can also challenge your kids to measure the length of the tabletop or even their own height. My daughter was delighted to discover her foot is one stirrer stick long. She was then on a mission to measure everything on the walk home from the coffee shop.

These simple activities are great for getting your kids excited about math, and for giving you a little time to sip your latte. Enjoy your coffee break!