March 14th is Pi Day, and you might find your students actually getting excited about it before they realize that you were talking about the mathematical constant and not the delicious dessert. Sometimes it’s hard to get kids excited about math—after all, it can be pretty difficult to get adults excited about it too. Fortunately, you can generate a bit more enthusiasm with some entertaining math activities for children that will show kids that math doesn’t have to be boring and dull. Math activities for children are all about practicality and demonstration. Kids don’t want to be told about mathematical concepts, they want to see them in front their eyes and understand why they should care in the first place. It’s one thing to inform children about addition and subtraction, and it’s another to show them that addition and subtraction are relevant whenever they buy things from the store or when they’re counting down the minutes or days until class is over or the next holiday arrives.

So for Pi Day, try bringing out an actual pie. Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. A more interesting way to explain this fact is to say that “pi” can determine how much pie that each kid is going to get. The area of a circle equals pi times the radius squared. The area of the pie is pi times the distance across half of the pie squared, and that gives you a general idea of how much pie you have. It doesn’t account for how deep the pie is, but you can figure out how wide your slice will be (the less other kids in class, the better). Your students are sure to enjoy a pie-sharing session much more than a boring geometry lesson. The kids learn and have fun, the teacher has an easier time getting the kids to pay attention, and everyone wins. When you make math activities for children more interesting for them, you get to have your pie and eat it too.

Math and kids don’t always mix, but they don’t have to clash. Math activities don’t have to convince kids to grow up to be mathematicians, but they can at least show children why math matters and that math doesn’t have to be boring. Too often classrooms emphasize memorizing and regurgitating information when their real purpose is to prepare students for the real world. The practicality of creatively thought out math activities for children helps classrooms to combat mindless learning and support real education.