Guessing jar ideas

Updated April 17, 2017

The guessing jar has long been an enticing way to spark interest in a variety of settings. Setting up one of these games is as easy as filling a jar with anything prized, like food, candy or tiny toys. A few other ideas are needed to fit the game in at just the right times.

In the Class

Candy is a tool used by teachers in a variety of rewarding ways. The guessing jar is a recurrent educational tool to motivate children while honing their skills in estimating and counting by number groupings. Have students guess at the beginning of class how many pieces of candy are in the jar, then hand the candy out so students can count it. The student whose guess came closest to the correct number wins candy.


The guessing jar is a common fundraising tool at company functions, community festivals or on the counter at the corner store. Prizes are awarded for winning guesses, and should be donated if possible. The prize could be, for instance, a night's stay donated by a hotel owner or a dinner for two at a benefactor's restaurant. The prize donor can charge a certain amount per guess, depending on the value of the prize being awarded for the closest guess.


Baby showers or stag parties could be served equally by inserting a guessing jar into the festivities. For a baby shower, pairs of socks, Q-tips or pacifiers are a good way to give the new mother a needed gift and also provide a prize to the winner of the guessing jar game. For an adult party, perhaps the jar is full of strawberries, and the winner gets a bottle of wine.

Even Toddlers

A child can play his first guessing jar game as a toddler. Use a baby jar filled with small, prized items, such as M&Ms and marbles, and have younger, pre-K children guess the number and count out the contents. As an added step, use tiny pieces of a puzzle in the jar that, after being counted, can be assembled by the child into a familiar picture.

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About the Author

Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.