7 ways kids can learn to make a graph

I’ve been teaching my kids (ages 4, 5, and 7) simple ways to make a graph.  This is old news for my incoming second grader, but graphs are fun – so she has been happy to play along.  My preschool boys also enjoyed creating a variety of graphs with me.

fun ways for kids to make a graph

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7 ways for kids to make a graph

1-  Gather a pile of coins and graph by type

make a graph with coins

We graphed coins as part of our collection of 10 coin activities.  Get your free graph by clicking HERE.

2 – Make a graph with nuts or another type of food

make a graph of food items

The key here is to graph something that comes in different varieties but that you don’t mind an abundance of!  We graphed nuts as part of our fall math activities.  You could also graph apples, citrus fruits, or dry noodles.  Do you have any other ideas?  You can get our blank graph by clicking HERE.

3 – Make a graph with toys

make a graph using toys

As part of our letter T Math, we made a transportation graph.  You could also graph toy food (by food group), toy animals (by farm animals/zoo animals/pets or another way), Tinker Toy pieces, or even Potato Head parts.  The sky’s the limit with this one!

4 – Make a graph about family or classroom favorites

make a graph of family favorites

Classroom teachers have an abundance of ways to make graphs about their students, but it can be tougher in families with a smaller number of people.  Depending on how many are in your family, you might be able to make a simple picture graph to show favorites.  Each of my big kids drew themselves on a post-it note and graphed their preferences alongside mine and my husband’s.   We also graphed favorite vegetables, fruits, and desserts.  The kids wanted to keep going, but it was time for clean-up and bed. We’ll pull this one out again!

Get our “Which is your favorite” graph HERE.

5 – Talk a walk and graph what you see

make a graph of things you see in your neighborhood

Before we started our walk, I asked my boys to tell me things we would see in our neighborhood — without naming things that we’d see so many of they wouldn’t fit on the graph (like houses and mailboxes).  I was impressed that they were able to come up with a lot of this list on their own. I plugged them into my graph, printed it, and off we went.  This was a favorite for all three of the big kids (ages 4, 5, and 7). My Four has already asked to take another one.  You could also make this a nature walk and challenge your kids to find wildflowers, bugs, and other things.

6- Graph toys by color

make a graph with duplos

Duplos were the perfect toy to graph by color because we could stack them. But you could also graph any toy that comes in variety of colors by setting the pieces in rows on the floor.

7- Graph colored candy

graph m and ms

My kids were beyond excited when I put M & M’s in the shopping cart this morning.  It’s a rare day that I buy candy, but it seemed wrong to do a post on graphing and leave out M & M’s!  You could also graph Skittles, conversation hearts, gum drops, or even colored Goldfish crackers.

For this post I’ve focused on basic line and picture graphs because these are the simplest for preschoolers to understand.  You could also teach your child about line graphs by creating a graph to show his change in height or weight.  Keep updating it and show him how the graph gives information: both his current size and how he’s grown since his last measurement.  Get your free M & M graph by HERE.

Looking for more math ideas? Click on the image below! 


© 2014, Anna Geiger. All rights reserved.


  1. Holly B. says

    I love these ideas! So many times as a homeschooling mom, I am at a loss as to what we can graph. These are fabulous ideas! With the exception of a neighborhood, we live in the country, we will be doing all of these.

    • Anna Geiger says

      Thanks so much, Tara! Often when I’m writing I’m visualizing both the classroom and home so teachers and parents can both benefit. Thanks for the comment!


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