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## How To Teach Fractions to Preschool and Kindergarten Students

Like all areas of math, fraction concepts should be communicated to young children through developmentally appropriate hands-on experiences and lots of play activities. Concrete objects like pattern blocks and 3D fraction shapes allow children to make sense of new math concepts or abstract ideas. Children should have experiences of fractions that:

- engage your senses
- invite them to experiment and make observations
- that they learn at their own pace, i
- give them time to research more about a topic

It is important that preschool and early childhood math lessons provide opportunities for young children to develop a sense of fraction numbers. Before children are able to do operations (add, subtract…) with fractions, they need a lot of time to play and play with fractions. This will help them visualize fractions and understand that fraction segments are equal parts of a larger object, skills needed for more advanced fraction concepts. There is no need to teach fraction symbols (1/2, 1/3…) in preschool or kindergarten.

Little kids are *working on the following, *skills needed for more advanced fraction concepts in future courses:

- be able to visualize fractions and
- understanding that fraction segments are equal parts of a larger object,

__Introduce fractions with cooking, stories and games__

Cooking activities introduce children to the language of fractions and help them connect fractions to their everyday experiences. As they participate in these activities, children become familiar with fraction terms such as whole, part, half, third, fourth. For example – Cut the cupcake in half, fill the cup halfway, use part of the whole orange, put peanut butter on one half of the bread and jam on the other half of the bread, cut the sandwich into quarters …

**Use fraction math manipulations and puppet toys to make up simple stories**

Here’s a sample circle time story with an apple split toy, 2 puppets and a basket:

Marty the Moose heard a knock on his door (knock on the chalkboard). He opened the door (squeak) and there was his friend, Sam the squirrel..

Improvise and make the puppets take turns cutting the apples and passing them around, keeping in mind that the aim is to introduce and help children become familiar with the idea of pieces of the same size that are part of a whole object and fraction terms such as halves, quarters, thirds.

**Play simple fraction games in small groups**

Depending on the size of the class, you may need to divide the class into small groups, with half working in independent math centers with mud, drawing, blocks or puzzles, and the other half playing the fraction game. As children play and play with fraction toys, they will gain fraction number sense.

The more time children have to play with fraction toys and manipulatives, the more their ability to visualize fractions as equal parts of a whole will increase. For easy fraction game ideas, go to http://www.kindergarten-lessons.com/fraction_games.html

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