Fruit Fractions (ages 3-6)

Materials: different fruits (apples, bananas, grapes), an adult knife or a dull knife for your child

1. Wash and prepare fruit as much as you want before bringing it out to your child.
2. Ask, "How can we cut this fruit into equal-sized pieces?" or, if you want to pre-cut then ask, "How many apple pieces did I make?"
3. Let your child explore the pieces by putting them together and separating them again.
4. Focus on introducing fraction language starting with halves, thirds and quarters. Don't worry about mastery of the language, but continue to use this language with your child.

Make it more challenging:

  • Let your child try to cut the fruit into equal parts. Talk about if the parts came out equally or not and how they have to be the same size.
  • Start a conversation about how the pieces get smaller as you cut more pieces. Let your child explain why the pieces are getting smaller. 

Brick Fractions

Materials: building bricks of different sizes

1. Take out the bricks and let child play for a few minutes.
2. Pick up a brick and ask, “How many circles do you see on this brick?”
3. Ask, "How many of these bricks do you think we could fit on top of this one?"
4. Continue asking questions and encourage child to see different combinations of blocks on top of one another.
5. Introduce fraction language as you play, for instance: "This is half the size of this one." "There are four of this type, that makes them one-fourth the size of the other one."

Make it more challenging:

  • Pick a "whole" brick and a "part" brick and ask child, "How many of _(part)___ does it take to equal _(whole)__."
  • See how many different combinations of "part" bricks can be combined to make the "whole" brick.

If you are interested in reading more about using building bricks to develop math concepts, read this great post from the Scholastic website.