Fraction games and fraction manipulatives give children opportunities to increase their fraction number sense. The more time children have to play with fraction toys and blocks, the more their ability to visualize fractions as equal parts of a whole will increase.
Rather than teaching preschool and kindergarten math with worksheets, give them lots of hands on experiences with math manipulatives and games similar to the ones below.
Teach fraction number sense…
- The concept of equivalent fractions will come with time if children have plenty of hands on play activities such as the ones below. Older children struggling with fraction concepts have often not had enough hands on experiences with fraction manipulatives.
- Playing fraction games will increase the children’s understanding that a fraction piece is a part of an equal number of pieces that creates a whole object.
Easy Fraction Games
Depending on your class size you may need to split the class into groups, having one half working at independent math centers with modeling clay, drawing, blocks or puzzles and the other half working with the teacher led math activity.
1. Fill the Circle game
The purpose of this fraction game is to introduce fraction terms and increase the children’s ability to visualize fraction pieces relative to a whole object.
- One or two sets of color-coded foam fraction circle sets depending on number of children (remove the whole circle from the sets)
- For each child: one whole cardboard circle the same size as the whole circle in the set (trace one then cut out 3 or 4 at a time from lightweight card)
- One set of number cards from 2 – 5
- Teacher turns over a number card between 2 and 5, and places it on the carpet
- Children choose that many of any size pieces, then place the pieces on their circle and see how they fit
- All the children observe each others circles and observe which shapes filled more or less of their cardboard circles.
- Children look to see if any shapes filled the entire cardboard circles or which filled the entire cardboard circle and had pieces left over
- Teacher uses fraction vocabulary when discussing the game results (E.G. Joey used a one-third piece and three of the one-twelfth pieces, Sarah used one of the one-third pieces and two of the one-eighth pieces)
2. Complete the Circle game
The purpose of this fraction game is to introduce children to the fraction terms (not to have them memorize them) and to help children develop fraction number sense.
Don’t assume that children make the connection that three, one third pieces will make a complete circle or that five, one fifth pieces make completes a circle. They need plenty of play with the fraction pieces to solidify this.
- Color-coded foam fraction circle set
- One of each fraction shape cut out of lightweight card (easy to make by placing one of each foam shape on the photocopier, copying them onto card and then cutting the shapes out).
- Cloth or paper bag
- Number cards with digits from 2 – 5
- Children’s name cards
- Getting ready
- Place the cardboard shapes in a bag.
- Place one of each foam shape on the carpet with ample room between them.
- Stack the number cards upside down on the carpet.
- Place the children’s name cards in front of them on the carpet.
- Distribute all the pieces from a fraction circle kit to the children. If you have a small group give children 2 or 3 pieces each.
- Pull a cardboard shape from the bag and turn over the top number card.
- Show the children the shape and call its name. If the number is 4, then four children with that card place their shape, one at a time, on the carpet next to the same pie shape, trying to complete a circle.
- The children who have had a turn put their name cards in the middle of the circle.
- Next time give the other children a chance. This ensures all children get turns.
- Put the cardboard shape back in the bag and pull out another shape, and repeat the steps
- As the game continues whole circles are formed as the children have turns placing their pieces on the carpet.
- Each time a new whole circle is formed, the players cheer.
- When all the circles are complete, count together to see how many pieces of each shape make an entire circle. “Let’s count how many one eighth pieces it took to make a complete circle.”