We have a running joke in our house about the ‘bigger half’.
My daughter started it when she was younger — we would ask if she wanted to split a sandwich or cookie with someone and her reply was always “Yes, but I want the bigger half!”
We tried to explain that half meant two equal amounts — but that didn’t go over in her mind.
“Just cut it like this Mommy” as she showed me a line that clearly allowed one part of the item to be larger than the other.
“But that’s not half, Honey. If we split it, than we would both get the same amount.“
Her reply — “Oh, than I don’t want half. I want more.” 🙂
What I realized as a parent is that we introduce the idea of fractions very early in a child’s life —
Half a cookie or the slices of a pizza
Counting out an equal number of blocks or legos on a playdate so everyone has equal amounts
Using measuring cups when kids cook with us in the kitchen
All those activities involve fractions but I know that I’m not always the best about pointing out when we are learning with fractions. So today we’re sharing great books & easy hands-on activities that help kids learn about the idea of “parts of a whole” — and it’s part of an awesome month-long series on maths hosted by Peakle Pie & 20 bloggers who love to share unique ideas for math activities!
Kids Books about Fractions & Math Activities
One of the obvious places that we teach fractions is in the kitchen. There are so many food items that we share — pizza, pie, sandwiches, etc. So that’s one place to begin the discussion of fractions.
The next time you are going to split or cut up an item, bring your child into the kitchen and talk about the idea of fractions. For example, cutting a WHOLE slice of watermelon in half and then cutting one of those halves into 3 smaller but equal parts.
That’s one of the keys — all parts of the item should be equal in size. This is something that younger kids may not understand right away (which is why my daughter wants the bigger half) but it’s a very important concept for older kids to think through as they will be learning to equate different types of fractions in school.
Then you can ask the kids that famous trick question — Do they want the half slice or the 3 smaller pieces?
Oh the struggle 🙂
Some kids go for the ‘big’ piece — others would rather have 3 pieces.
This is the perfect time to point out that both choices will give them the same amount of watermelon — you can stack the smaller pieces on the large slice to show them that too.
Try a few of these ideas for introducing kids to fractions — we’ve included affiliate links for learning items and books we love!
Using Measuring Cups and Spoons when you cook or bake is another way to introduce fractions. Kids LOVE to measure things — you can show them how 1 cup of water is equal to (3) 1/3 cups of water. That concept of adding smaller fractions to create a whole item is fun practice for them.
More math activities that introduce fractions:
Play this Fraction Pizza Game from Life over C’s.
Schooltime Snippets has a free Fractions BINGO Game that kids will really enjoy.
JDaniel4’s Mom has an awesome way to visually build fractions with LEGOS!
And older kids will enjoy using a deck of cards to play Fraction War.
Books about Fractions
And of course, we’re all about books! Stories are a wonderful way to introduce a new concept to kids. Here are some fun & funny fraction books for kids:
We always enjoy the MathStart books and this one was perfect for the ‘bigger half’ discussion at our house. Give Me Half! Understanding Halves
A Fraction’s Goal – Parts of a Whole (Math Is Categorical) is perfect for showing the visual side of fractions. Funny rhymes and illustrations highlight kid-friendly examples of how parts can add up to a whole.
Whole-y Cow!: Fractions Are Fun is a cute book for younger kids (ages 6 – 9 years). The story shares the funny antics of a cow and asks the reader to identify what fraction is illustrated.
Working With Fractions is an excellent book for elementary age kids! Readers will see that fractions are used everywhere — on the playground, when you split a pizza and even while playing games with friends. This is a very colorful read by a popular (and wonderful!) author.
Fraction Actionintroduces fractions of all types — visual graphs, counting money, sharing food. Kids will recognize many real life activities in the colorful pages and will enjoy the comic-book layout of the story.
The Lion’s Share is another advanced book for older kids. The subtitle — A Tale of Halving Cake & Eating it Too — tells it all! At a party in the jungle, all the animals get together to share a cake. It’s a great concept of taking half of something and then half again — but are those all equal parts if you take half of a half? A unique look at fractions of all sizes.
Do you have any fun ways of introducing fractions to kids?
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