Last Updated: November 12, 2020
Tomorrow’s March the 14th, and if you’re not nerdy enough to know what that means, my friends—you are living life wrong.
Known as Pi Day in homage to everyone’s favourite irrational number (sorry, e and i), celebrating it at 1:59 PM gives a date and time similar to π’s first decimal digits—i.e., 3/14 1:59 matches 3.14159.
And that’s at a basic level. My mathy ilk have toyed with this over the years—in 2015, π purists celebrated at 9:26 AM instead to honour the special date sequence exclusive to that year: 3/14/15 9:26, or 3.1415926 as π continues.
Whatever time you choose to celebrate Pi Day on the 14th, there’re two things you should definitely do if you want to make it memorable—grab your favourite pie flavour to enjoy with family and friends (cherry, lemon meringue, apple and/or pizza for me, for future reference), and have fun with some π-themed activities that’ll get everyone in the spirit!
With our young minds in mind, Kumon Canada‘s Math and Reading Centre Instructors compiled a list of Pi Day activities you can do with your children this March Break to incorporate learning even when they’re not at school! Here’re a few fun ways to celebrate Pi Day and have your kids problem-solve and learn with the Kumon self-learning method at the same time!
1. Make a Pi Bracelet or Necklace
- Different colours of beads
- Pipe cleaners, thread or string
- A pen and a pad of paper
- Write out as many Pi digits as you can and colour code each number.
- Grab different colours of beads and begin to string them on the thread or a pipe cleaner you select to make your bracelet.
- Start to place the beads on the thread in order of Pi’s number sequence and the colours you’ve selected for each digit.
- Tie up the thread and wear your new accessory – use it to memorise the digits of Pi!
2. Throw a Pi Day Scavenger Hunt
- Assorted circular objects (fruit, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
- Assorted number cards that represent the numbers in Pi
- A pencil and a pad of paper
- Hide a number of circular objects or numbers around your home.
- Come up with a list of the objects kids need to find (give a few hints just in case!). Here is an example list to get you started: three objects that have circular cross sections (cylinder, cone and sphere); the first five digits of Pi; three items with the word ‘Pi’ in it
- Ask children to hunt for the objects.
- For older children, challenge them to measure the circumference and diameter of circular objects and then divide the circumference by the diameter, to find Pi.
After the hunt, reward all participants with a delicious prize, like pizza or pie!
3. Host a Pi Word Challenge
- Pencil and pen for each participant or Scrabble board game letters
- Challenge children to write as many words they can think of that include the word “pi” (pizza, pineapple, picture, pie, etc.). (For younger players, help them out by talking and spelling things through and using images for added support.)
- Determine which child has the most number of words written and offer them a prize!
4. Host a Pi Day paint party
You and your child can have a fun-filled day of painting to celebrate Pi Day by painting your favourite circular objects! This activity would be appropriate for early learners so this may mean painting some flowers, suns, ladybugs and more.
- Different paint colours
- Paint brushes
- Sheets of paper
- Think about your favourite circular objects with your child
- Ask your child to start painting these objects, using their favourite paint colours
- Let your children fill their canvass with circles of all sizes – hang it on the fridge for everyone in the family to see!
5. Learn where hat sizes come from
Most hat sizes range between 6 and 8. Brainstorm ideas for how such sizes could be generated. Then use measuring tape to measure peoples’ heads. Use calculators to manipulate measurements. Now compare your results with the sizes written inside the hats. Do your numbers look like they could be hat sizes? (Hint: Try using different units of measurement.)
- Soft tape measures
- Hats with sizes indicated inside them
- Talk about how hat sizes are generated
- Use a measuring tape to measure participants’ heads
- Use calculators to manipulate measurements
- Compare the results with the sizes written inside the hats
- Talk about the results – do the numbers look like they could be hat sizes?
Note: Hat sizes must be related to the circumference of the head. An adult head’s circumference usually ranges between 21 and 25 inches. The head’s circumference divided by Pi gives us the hat size.
Pi Day — Because Any Excuse to Have Fun and Eat Pie’s Alright By Me!
This year, make sure to Pi Day away with these tips from Kumon Canada! With special days for just about everything else (March 14th is also Potato Chip Day and International Ask a Question Day among other things), Pi Day is one of the better ones!
Don’t be square—get your Pi Day on! #DadJoke
Until the next,
Disclaimer: Kumon Canada provided editorial content for this post, but opinions remain my own and pie is very likely my favourite dessert, so there’s that! Enjoy your Pi Day!