Mummy Math: Halloween Estimation and Measurement!

Believe it or not, Halloween is just around the corner! To get my kids excited and seize the opportunity to get outside and enjoy some beautiful Fall weather, we decided to try a little experiment. It all started with a simple enough question: “How many squares of toilet paper do you think it would take to wrap you up like a mummy?” Challenge accepted. Learn how we turned this fun and silly activity into an afternoon full of Mummy Math with a simple Halloween estimation and measurement challenge!

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

To prepare, we grabbed a handful of toilet paper rolls and some rulers, and headed outside.

I wanted to help my kids start thinking about educated guesses, and ways we can try to logically estimate, rather than just throwing random numbers out there. Admittedly, this was a challenge for my kids (ages 4, 5 and 6), but I don’t think it’s ever too early to start!

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

To begin, we measured one square of toilet paper, which was approximately four inches long. We then decided to start by wrapping just my daughter’s arm to try and get an idea for the rest of her. After measuring her arm as well, my daughter estimated 12 squares of toilet paper to cover her arm.

And she was right!

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

We took that to estimate what it would take to wrap up the rest of her. She’s not able to count by 12’s, so we used 10 and counted by tensย to try and estimate a total. She counted to 100, and so we all guessed a number around 100 for the total number of squares.

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

Then it was time to finish wrapping her up like a mummy!

If you are working with a large group, or bigger kids, you may not want to use rolls and rolls of toilet paper. Instead, use the small section you start with to estimate the rest. Talk about different ways to calculate the estimate, such as using the same amount for the other arm, a little more for each leg, etc.

Or use the same piece that you’ve wrapped around an arm to wrap up other parts and see what fraction or percentage you’re able to cover. Then base further estimates off of that. (For example, if you use that piece to wrap the leg, and you’re only able to wrap up half a leg, you can double it for a whole leg).

Definitely be mindful of reducing waste, and look for other uses for the toilet paper squares after you’ve finished the lesson (such as crafts, cleaning up messes).

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

I will be honest, it was not easy to wrap effectively and count at the same time. So our final answer may not have been perfectly exact, but it was great fun! And a fantastic opportunity for my younger ones to practice counting!

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

My youngest daughter helped me wrap and count while my son kept track of the numbers. Each time we did a section, we would tear it off and start another.

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

When we were done, we added up all the numbers, and the grand total? 126 squares!

My daughter was surprised, because this was actually not even one whole roll of toilet paper. Her original guess, before we started to measure and think about estimation techniques was that it would take 5 rolls to wrap her up head to toe.

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

After we finished, we had some discussion about how we estimated our Mummy Math, as well as how our total would change if we had wrapped the toilet paper tighter or closer together.

I also asked if we would need more or less to wrap up her brother and sister, and they quickly responded with, “Definitely less!”

“Well, how do you know?” I asked.

“Because they’re smaller!” True that.

Such a fun and cute way to help kids practice estimating and measuring! Great halloween math activity that kids will LOVE!

Overall, this was SO FUN! They thought it was hilarious, and didn’t even complain when I asked them to clean up the ginormous pile of toilet paper all over the yard! ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you have older ones, there are lots of ways you can explore this further, such as making more precise estimations based on the length of each square, or figuring out the total length of toilet paper after you find the total. (In our case, ย it would be about 504 inches long, or 42 feet).

What are some other ways you could extend the learning in this simple Mummy Math activity? Do you have any fun ideas for Halloween estimation and measurement activities?

Looking for more Mummy Math ideas? Try reading the book, Mummy Math by Cindy Neuschwander!

This is a fun way to teach and explore 3D shapes and would be fun around Halloween or along with a study of Ancient Egypt.

Want more ideas to take math outside? Try one of these:

Sidewalk Chalk Number Line Race

Shapes Scavenger Hunt

Even and Odd Number Bean Bag Toss

 

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14 Comments

    1. Thanks!! My kids seriously had so much fun, I look forward to doing it again when they’re older and we can do a little more formal math with it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. Last year when we studied Egypt I gave my kids five rolls of toilet paper and ended up with three cute little mummies. We had so much fun!!! We laughed and laughed! You wouldn’t imagine the clean up though. Toilet paper was on top of bookcases and between armchairs, behind tables and on top of toys… It was insanity! I love your educational spin on it! We didn’t measure toilet paper, but we just recently started practicing “educated guesses” with paper airplanes.

  2. This is so perfect! We are learning about Egypt in a couple weeks. We can do this excercise when we learn about mummies. The people who actually wrapped mummies must have had to estimate. Great idea!

  3. This looks like SO much fun! My girls are still pretty young, but I bet we could do a simple version of it and they would have a blast. We don’t really do Halloween – I’m not sure they even know what mummies are. But wrapping themselves up in toilet paper would be hilarious to them. And unrolling the TP is my baby’s absolute favorite thing in the world to do (grrr….) so I’m sure she’d help! Thanks for posting!

    1. Haha, yes unrolling it is a favorite activity of my little one too! But my kids thought this was seriously the best thing ever! I mean, who wouldn’t like to wrap up their brother or sister in TP?! ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope your girls have fun!

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