## Holiday Math Puzzles and Activities for Christmas, Winter Break

Do you know of any great math-related seasonal games, crafts, or activities I missed? Please add them to the comments section below.

As you scroll through the links below, you find several puzzle graphics from the wonderful Visual Patterns website.

Use them as conversation-starters with your kids: What do you notice? How does each pattern grow?

For older students: Can you write a formula to describe how each pattern? What will it look at stage 43?

### A Bit of Fun

Setting the mood: Enjoy this bit of seasonal fidgeting from Vi Hart. If you don’t understand some of the references, that’s normal! Pick a phrase, Google it, and enjoy the fun of learning something new.

Every year, some of my favorite websites offer a seasonal selection of activities to encourage your children’s (and your own!) mathematical creativity, one for each day in the run-up to Christmas.

Colleen Young updates the list every year, so check out her pages:

### Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

• Clarissa (@c0mplexnumber) demonstrates how to make beautiful, challenging origami snowflakes. She recommends beginners try the first few folds — which create a pretty cool design on their own. Let it Snow…

### Puzzles Under the Tree

• Unfortunately, the holidays come smack in the middle of flu season. Did you come down with The Grinch Bug?
• Speaking of Christmas carols, the Christmas Price Index shows the current cost for one set of each of the gifts given in the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I wonder what’s the cumulative cost of all the gifts, when you count each repetition in the song?

### Christmas Adventures with Alexandria Jones

Alexandria Jones and her family are fictional characters from my old Mathematical Adventures newsletter. Their stories appear sporadically as I find time to transcribe them from the back-issues. You can find them all on this blog page.

Here are all the Alexandria Jones stories Christmas stories, with activity and craft ideas…

Do you need to keep your kids busy and work in a bit of math practice? Try these Christmas word problems:

Or visit the sites below for worksheets to cover all ages:

CREDITS: “Circle Packing” feature graphic (top) by fdecomite via Flickr (CC BY 2.0). Picture pattern puzzles from Visual Patterns website.

Once again, some of my favorite websites offer a seasonal selection of activities to encourage your children’s (and your own!) mathematical creativity, one for each day in the run-up to Christmas.

Including an especially tough Advent meta-puzzle for truly determined problem-solvers…

Click the images below to visit the corresponding December Math Calendar pages.

### For Primary Students

Easier activities for elementary and middle school.

A problem or game that uses dice for each day in the run up to Christmas.

When you get to the Nrich website, click a number to go to that day’s math.

### For Secondary Students

Activities for middle and high school.

Most of the tasks require dotty paper or circles which you can find on the Nrich Printable Resources page.

When you get to the Nrich website, click a number to go to that day’s math.

“Because sometimes, in the midst of all the family fun, it’s good to put your headphones in and retreat into a word of your own, this year’s advent calendar brings you some of our favourite Plus podcasts. From the secrets of the Universe to the maths of football stadiums, there should be something there for everyone. Happy listening and happy Christmas from the Plus team!”

When you get to the +Plus Magazine website, you can tell which links are live because they jump to a larger size when you tap or mouse over the picture.

One link becomes live each day — so come back tomorrow and discover something new!

### Christmas Meta-Puzzle

Or try your hand at the biggest mathematical mystery of them all — and save Christmas!

“It’s nearly Christmas and something terrible has happened: one of Santa’s five helpers — Jo Ranger, Fred Metcalfe, Kip Urples, Meg Reeny, and Bob Luey — has stolen all the presents during the North Pole’s annual Sevenstival. You need to find the culprit before Christmas is ruined for everyone.”

If you solve all the clues and enter the answer on Christmas day, you may win a present for yourself, too.

### Still More Mathy Fun

Colleen Young has collected several more holiday math calendars — enough to keep your kids playing and learning well into the New Year. Take a look!

CREDITS: “Peanuts Christmas Panorama” photo [top] by Kevin Dooley via Flicker. (CCBY2.0)