Feb. 19, 2018
Even kids who love math sometimes struggle when it comes to learning fractions. Oftentimes, kids excel at addition and subtraction, but falter when they start with fractions because solving problems on paper requires kids to think about fractions without much connection to real life learning. Let’s take a look at some simple ways to make learning fractions easier for your little mathematician!
Experience Fractions, Hands On
Most kids are, to some degree, kinesthetic learners. This means that many kids learn best by doing. When kids are able to manipulate or work with their learning hands on, they internalize learning, and understand the concepts at a deeper level. Moreover, the concept of fractions is abstract—when kids solve fraction problems, they are forced to visualize parts of a whole, and this skill isn’t fully mature until the middle school years.
To make fractions easy for kids, manipulatives help kids understand the concept. There are a multitude of different fraction manipulatives available online for purchase, or you can research and make your own fraction kits using foam boards or blocks. For younger kids, making your own kit might add fun to your child’s math studies, and give him or her a sense of ownership over learning the concept.
Additionally, working with fractions is easily accessible when you cook or bake with your kids, and simply discussing your family’s next pizza can help your child understand parts of a whole.
Just like most kids are kinesthetic learners, many are also visual learners. This means that many kids learn best by seeing concepts drawn out for them before they are able to understand the concept.
A great way to teach your child to understand the concept of fractions is to help him or her create fractions from shapes. Draw and cut out different symmetrical shapes using construction paper, and practice folding them into halves or quarters.
Free printable worksheets are also great resources for visualizing fractions, since kids can practice shading in parts of shapes on paper. Search the web for free printables that allow kids to easily shade in and count parts of shapes. Then, help your child count the shaded portions and write the fraction on the paper.
Play Some Games!
As you probably already know, kids learn much more when they’re having fun and playing games. And fraction games for kids don’t have to be expensive or fancy! To make fractions easier and more fun to work with, invent a few games using ordinary items, like dominos. Since dominoes are already separated into two separate halves, tell your child that the upper half is the numerator, and the bottom half is the denominator. Then, help your child order the dominoes from smallest to largest, helping him or her write the fraction on paper, and making an ascending list.
Another great idea is using a mini toddler bowling set to play bowling while using fractions to represent the number of pins that were knocked down. Simply make cards that represent the pins in each frame. After bowling each frame, help your child shade in the number of pins he or she knocked down!
Like with most learning skills, whenever your child needs another way to learn something, there’s an app for that! Apps make learning fun and simple as kids love playing quick and easy-to-understand games.
Many apps offer a mixture of resources, delivered right to your child’s fingertips. For instance, your child might watch a fractions video for kids that offers a quick video tutorial to explain fractions, followed by a game or activity kids can play to demonstrate their learning. Explore apps that use vibrant pictures of real life objects that are easy to understand as fractions like pizzas, pies, or cakes.
When working with fractions presented as fun digital games, your child will be engaged and excited, instead of frustrated and bored. Explore the App Store or Google Play to find a vast array of apps to help your child play with fractions.
When most kids start struggling in math, it’s usually when kids start working with fractions. Learning fractions doesn’t have to be a struggle! Utilize the above tips, and help your child succeed in math using fun and effective methods!