Create simple graphs for kids to use with colored candies. Sorting, counting and manipulating colorful candy is a simple way to introduce bar graphs to kids.
Begin by choosing a manipulative for your graphing activity, such as colored candies or cereal. You can also use something inedible such as buttons or beads. Use a paper plate or some kind of mat with which to contain the pieces for graphing, and instruct the kids to count their objects.
Have them sort the objects into color groups. Then, help the kids create a three-dimensional bar graph on the plate by lining up each color group vertically, and have the kids make an actual graph by drawing a grid on paper. Instruct them to title the graph at the top of the page with the name of the objects used in the graph.
Show the kids how to label and number the vertical axis to represent the number of objects in each color group. Next, label the horizontal axis with the color of each group of objects. Instruct the kids to fill in the appropriate number of cells in the grid for each color group, starting at the bottom. Have the kids compare the paper graphs to the three-dimensional graphs on their paper plates. Discuss how the tallest bars in the bar graphs represent the largest color groups and the shortest bars represent the smallest groups.