9 Activities to Celebrate Pi Day

Pi Day is a great excuse to engage children in fun math challenges meant to enrich their understanding of the concept of Pi


Pi Day is observed on March 14 at exactly 1:59 PM (because π =3.14159265359…and so on) and this year, Kumon Canada wants to help Canadian children celebrate Pi Day in a fun and exciting way. Activities can include investigations of the value of Pi, special Pi projects and parties with pizza or other kinds of “Pi.”

But what is pi? Pi (π) is a mathematical constant, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Commonly approximated as 3.14159, ‘Pi’ is an irrational number with infinite decimal digits—it just keeps going and going and going!

Here are 9 fun ways to celebrate Pi Day with the littles:

1. Make a Pi Collage


Michael Albert is a New York pop artist who’s created some stunning pi-related art. His series of pi collages, including one with over 777 digits of pi, have brought a creative perspective into the math world. Albert shows that while celebrating Pi Day is about math and pies, it can also be about arts and crafts too. To teach kids how interesting and long the irrational number pi is, they can spend some of the day creating a pi collage.

Assorted magazines, newspapers to cut up

1. Scour magazines and newspapers to find all of the numbers for Pi
2. See how many digits you can find
3. Cut and paste to create a custom pi collage

2. Run a Measurement Race


Circles are all around us and it’s time they get the attention that they deserve. This activity is an opportunity for kids to do quick math and have some measurement fun too. They can pay attention to the circles all around them while enjoying this measurement race.

Soft measuring tape (1 per participant)
Assorted circular objects (pizzas, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
List of all the objects for each participant

1. Lay out all the objects
2. Each participant can run and measure the circumference of each object, writing it down next to the objects name on the list.
3. The participant who records all of the circumference first wins
4. BONUS CHALLENGE: Have the participants try and find the diameter of each object using the number pi. First one to do so wins.

3. Have a Pi Day Bake-Off


Though you might not have to do any math with the number 3.14, baking requires lots of beginner math for young kids. Have a bake-off with your kids to create the best pi pie (apple, pumpkin, pizza, chocolate etc.). Decorate the pie with pi symbols and numbers! This Perfect, Triple Berry Pi Pie is courtesy of Pillsbury.

Baking materials for your favourite pie

1. Pick out a recipe for a pie (fruit or pizza)
2. Follow the recipe and bake the pie
3. Decorate the pie with numbers (3.14), equations (π = C/d) or symbols (π).
4. Host a competition to see who made the best pie.

4. 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 a measuring tape to measure peoples’ heads (while doing this, think of where a hat sits on a head). 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

1. Talk about how hat sizes are generated
2. Use a measuring tape to measure participants’ heads
3. Use calculators to manipulate measurements
4. Compare the results with the sizes written inside the hats
5. Talk about the results – do the numbers look like they could be hat sizes?

Note: Hat sizes are directly related to the circumference of the head. The circumference of an adult’s head usually ranges between 21 and 25 inches. The head’s circumference divided by pi gives us the hat size.

5. Make a Pi Bracelet or Necklace


To celebrate Pi Day this year, break out the craft kit and make yourself a fun fashion accessory!

Different colours of beads
Pipe cleaners, thread or string
A pen and a pad of paper

1. Write out as many Pi digits as you can and colour code each number.

2. Grab different colours of beads and begin to string them onto the thread or a pipe cleaner you select to make your bracelet.

3. Start to place the beads onto the thread in order of Pi’s number sequence and the colours you’ve selected for each digit.

4. Tie up the thread and wear your new accessory—use it to memorize the digits of Pi!

6. Throw a Pi Day Scavenger Hunt


Conduct a Pi Day scavenger hunt by hiding Pi-themed objects around the house. The objects can also represent the numbers of Pi.

Assorted circular objects (fruit, cups, wheels, balls, etc.)
Assorted number cards that represent the numbers in Pi
A pencil and a pad of paper

1. Hide a number of circular objects or numbers around your home.

2. Come up with a list of the objects kids need to find (provide a few hints just in case!). Here is an example list to get you started:

a. Three objects that have circular cross sections: cylinder, cone and sphere
b. The first five digits of Pi
c. Three items with the word ‘Pi’ in it

3. Ask children to hunt for the objects.

4. 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!

7. Host a Pi Word Challenge


Word challenges are always a hit with children. Here’s a fun way to enhance and test children’s vocabulary and help them learn new words as well!

Pencil and pen for each participant OR Scrabble board game letters

1. Challenge children to write down as many words they can think of that include the word “pi” (pizza, pineapple, picture, pie, etc.).

a. For younger players, help them out by talking and spelling things through and using images for added support

2. Determine which child has the most number of words written down and offer them a prize!

8. 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

1. Think about your favourite circular objects with your child

2. Ask your child to start painting these objects, using their favourite paint colours

3. Let your children fill their canvass with circles of all sizes – hang it on the fridge for everyone in the family to see!

9. Teach them how to remember the first few digits of Pi

Have them memorize the sentence “May I have a large container of coffee“. If they then just count the letters in each word (3 1 4 1 5 9 2 6) and you’ve got the first 8 digits down. Here is a video to help them remember the number up to 100 digits:

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