How to Teach Fractions to Preschool and Kindergarten Students

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

  • incorporate your senses
  • invite them to experiment and make observations
  • let them learn at their own pace, and
  • Allow them time to research a topic further.

It is important that preschool and kindergarten math lessons provide opportunities for young children to develop number sense for fractions. Before children can perform operations (add, subtract …) with fractions, they need a lot of time to play with fractions. This will help them visualize fractions and understand that fraction segments are equal parts of a larger object, skills necessary for more advanced fraction concepts. It is not necessary to teach symbols for fractions (1/2, 1/3 …) in preschool or kindergarten.

Young children are working towards the following, skills that are necessary for more advanced fraction concepts in future grades:

  • be able to visualize fractions and
  • understand 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 relate fractions to their everyday experiences. As they participate in these activities, children become familiar with fraction terms such as whole, part, half, third, and fourths. For example – Cut the muffin 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 math fraction manipulators and puppet toys to make up simple stories.

Here is a sample circle time story using an apple fraction toy, 2 puppets, and a basket:

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

Improvise and have the puppets take turns cutting the apples and distributing them, keeping in mind that the objective is to introduce and help the children to become familiar with the idea of ​​pieces of equal size that are part of a complete object and in terms of fractions . as halves, quarters, thirds.

Play simple fraction games in small groups

Depending on the size of your class, you may need to divide the class into small groups, half working in separate math centers with playdough, pictures, blocks, or puzzles, and half playing the fraction game. As children play and play with fraction toys, they will gain number sense for fractions.

The more time children have to play with toys and fraction manipulatives, the more their ability to visualize fractions as equal parts of a whole will increase. For simple fraction game ideas, visit

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