Frequency Definition: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mark Boster
Sometimes you may want to know how often things happen or you want to keep track of how many of one thing or the other you have. That is where frequency and a frequency table will be helpful.


Victor was leaving the store when he saw a gumball machine. He wanted a red gumball. He put in a dime and got a green one. Then he put in another dime and got a blue one. He put in three more dimes and got two green and a yellow. He tried three more times and got three orange ones. Victor decided to try one last time. He finally got a red one. He wanted another red one, but he looked at what had already come out and decided he didn't want to try again because he had a poor chance. So he kept his other dimes and went home.


Frequency is the number of times a value occurs in a set of data. For example, Victor tried nine times to get a red gumball. The frequency in this case would be the number of each color of gumballs that came out. Let's look at our numbers of each color on a frequency table, which shows how often each event happened.

Frequency Table for Gumballs

First, Victor made a list of the colors he got from the gumball machine. Then he made tally marks to keep easy track of the number of gumballs of each color he got. Finally he counted up the tally marks he made and wrote down the number. From looking at the number, he could see that if he put in another dime, he would probably get a green or orange gumball. He only had a one out of nine chance to get red, so not trying again was a smart thing for him to do.

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