A Surprising Fun Way To Learn Tally Marks

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A super sweet and fun way to learn tally marks.

tally marks

Tally marks are one of those math concepts that most kids understand pretty quickly. But what about reviewing or freshening up those newly learned skills?

I cannot take credit for this idea on teaching tally marks in a fun and creative way. I have to give all props to my daughter. (Butterfly) She is the creator of this brilliantly sweet idea.

What can you possibly learn from Halloween Candy?

After Halloween one day Butterfly decided she was going to have a Tootsie-Pop. (This sparked up a conversation like so many random things do in our home!)  I shared my memories of enjoying Tootsie-Pops when I was young. I then brought up the “old” (I hate that I have to call it “old!” ) commercial of the owl, “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll Tootsie-Pop?” on Youtube. We all watched it and this challenged our daughter. I love when they challenge themselves.


She then informed me that she was going to test how many licks it takes to get to the center of her Tootsie-Pop and record her licks using tally marks.

We hadn’t studied tally marks for quite a while so this was a good review for her.

Off she went. It took her quite some time, but I didn’t mind because I thought her way of practicing math that day was brilliant….and fun!


After she managed to lick her way all the way to the center…without biting mind you {I don’t have that amount of self-control} she tally marked every lick and she calculated all her tally marks. This was also a great way to practice counting by 5’s.


Because Butterfly is an artsy kinda gal, she drew this picture. I decided that this project was a sure keeper for her school portfolio, so we put it in a protector.

Taking her efforts a step further, we researched how we might be able to record her discovery with the Tootsie Roll company but much to our disappointment there where already MANY records.

Nevertheless, I give her an A+ for her determination and efforts.

So, if I had to choose the moral of this post, it would be to allow your child to lead their own studies once in a while. I personally would have never thought to encourage my children to tally mark their licks on a lollipop.

For her, it made math (a subject she struggles with) super fun that day!

Can you guess how licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie-Roll Tootsie Pop?


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  1. That is awesome!! What a fun self- guided math activity! I love the way kids think.

  2. Kids are genius sometimes, aren’t they?

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving me such a great comment!

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