5 Tips for Teaching Fractions Early

Fractions! We use them all the time but for some children (and adults, too) they are a cause for frustration. These tips for helping your younger student learn about fractions in the early years may alleviate some of that frustration when exploring higher level fractional math.

  1. Start introducing fraction vocabulary and concepts early to help them become comfortable with the basic terminology. Keep it simple and fun. For example, while your younger student is learning to count objects, help them to divide them into even groups then explain how one group is half or a third or so on of the whole group. Use fraction vocabulary when cutting a pizza or sandwich or another treat.
  2. Have you child create their own fraction manipulatives using paper or card stock. Printable Math Worksheets has free sets of fraction strips, fraction bars and fraction circles that can be printed out or used as a guide to make your own. Or do a quick Google search to find others that might appeal to your child's interests.
  3. Play Fraction Games like these ideas from We Are Teachers or do some fraction coloring with these printables from Twisty Noodle. Create fractional art using old magazines and have your child describe it using the fraction vocabulary they have learned.
  4. Utilize free videos or online games or apps targeted to younger children. For example, do a search for "fractions for kids" on YouTube and you will come up with good selection of videos to start with. On the Math Playground website, you will find a bunch of games the kids can play online.
  5. Incorporate fraction training outside of math class. Look for ways to practice fraction concepts in everyday life such as in the kitchen when prepping food or splitting up into teams for games or playing with building blocks, reading books about fractions and more. Be careful not to make everything an obvious teaching moment, but don't hesitate to encourage kids to learn through play and experimentation.