Are You Ready for 12 Days of Holiday Math Challenges?

Teaching math during the holiday season is challenging.

Your kids' focus is, to say the least, diverted as their enthusiasm and excitement grows with each passing day.

Savvy teachers can take advantage of students' enthusiasm by incorporating holiday-themed activities into their lesson plans.

I know that preparing activities can be time-consuming, so my gift to you this holiday season is the 12 Days of Holiday Math Challenges

The following printable holiday math worksheets allow you to inject a little bit of merry mathematics into each daily lesson from now until Christmas break.

Each holiday math worksheet shares a challenge question (answers are included) appropriate for all elementary and middle school grade levels.

Parents can also share these fun challenge questions with your kids to keep them engaged and thinking mathematically while on break from school.

Now let's get problem-solving!

1.) Day One of Twelve

(Hint: Notice that one shopping bag is equivalent to two snowmen!)

Snowman = 6

Shopping Bags = 12

Star = 14




2.) Day Two of Twelve

(Hint: Start with the reindeer!)

Penguin = 9

Reindeer = 7

Fox = 1

Dove = 5

3.) Day Three of Twelve

(Hint: Notice that the reindeer and the snowflake are equivalent!)

Tree = 8

Snowman = 1

Reindeer = 4

Snowflake = 4

4.) Day Four of Twelve

(Hint: Start with the ribbon and use it to find the value of the present!)

Cookies = 10

Milk = 5

Present = 7

Ribbon = 8

5.) Day Five of Twelve

(Hint: Save coffee and dessert for later!)

Pancakes = 13

Coffee = 4

Cake = 7


6.) Day Six of Twelve

(Hint: What value minus three plus itself will equal 13?)

Present = 8

Snowman = 5

Carrot = 2

Chipmunk = 6

7.) Day Seven of Twelve

(Hint: What value subtracted from 12 is that same value?)

Gingerbread Man = 25

Bells = 15

Candy Cane = 6

8.) Day Eight of Twelve

(Hint: All trees are created equal!)

Tree = 9

Cake = 10

Candy Cane = 1

Sum: 20

9.) Day Nine of Twelve

(Hint: Each value comes from doing something to the previous value)

Each value is one more than three times the value of the number that comes before it. 

? = 121

10.) Day Ten of Twelve

(Hint: The growth pattern is exponential!)


Notice that the first value increases by 2, the second value increases by 3, the third value increases by 4, etc.

Case 5: 15 Candy Canes

Case 8: 36 Candy Canes

What about case 100?


11.) Day Eleven of Twelve

(Hint: Remember the multiplicative identity!)

Present: 0

Tree = 1

Candy Cane = 2

Cookie: 0

Snowman = 4

Snowflake: 5

12.) Day Twelve of Twelve

(Hint: You need to visualize this situation by drawing a diagram and/or using manipulatives and colored pencils or markers!)

Case 4: 25 Penguins

Case 5: 36 Penguins

Case n: (n+1)^2

*This question was inspired by Jo Boaler's TED Talk: How You Can Be Good at Math and Other Surprising Facts About Learning.


All I want for Christmas is your input! Have thoughts? Please (oh please, oh please) share them in the comments below!

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By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.