Even for kids who love math, fractions can be a challenge! Make fractions easier with these fun hands-on math activities. These activities cover partitioning (dividing a shape into equal parts), equivalent fractions, and discovering how many items are in a fractional part of a whole.
I would recommend these fractions activities for kids age 7 to 10.
In my opinion, understanding fractions involves a developmental component. Children will grasp these concepts at different ages. Most third graders, for example, will understand dividing a play dough circle into halves and quarters, etc. But not all of them will easily grasp the fact that 2/3 of 30 is 20. This is where concrete objects come in! Even a young child will understand that if there are 30 candies and 3 kids, each child should get the SAME amount. Dividing them into three piles will make it clear that everyone should get 10.
Play Dough Fractions
Play dough fractions are a great place to start! Use a plastic cup or a circle cookie cutter to make nice, even circles.
Then partition the circles into halves, quarters, thirds, and so on.
My third grader could cut halves and quarters accurately. She needed my help to accurately cut thirds and sixths. Once you have quarters, kids should be able to cut each one in half to make eighths.
Compare your fractional parts to explore equivalent fractions.
As long as your cutting is fairly accurate, it will be easy to tell that 1/4 is equal to 2/8. And 1/2 is equal to 4/8.
We used sticky notes to label our fraction math sentences. In addition to equal sentences, we also made some greater than and less than sentences.
Pattern Block Fractions
Pattern blocks are a little limited since they only come in certain shapes and sizes, but they do work for fractions! I wouldn’t buy them specifically for fractions, but if you have them on hand, it’s fun to explore and see what fractions you can build.
Here’s a way to build fourths and eighths.
Sticky Note Fractions
We love using sticky notes for all kinds of learning activities. They’re so useful, and it’s often helpful that they stick to things.
Label one of your sticky notes as the whole, or 1. Then use scissors to cut your sticky notes into thirds, halves, quarters, etc. We found that folding the sticky note in half made it easy to see how to divide it evenly.
Then we compared our fractions to look at equivalent fractions.
Use M&M’s for fractions! This is always fun.
For this activity, the goal is to determine how many M&M’s are 1/4 of 20, etc. We started with a small bowl of M&M’s and some index cards with fraction problems on them.
To solve 1/6 of 24, first count out 24 M&M’s. Then divide them into 6 piles. You can now count how many M&M’s are in 1/6.
To solve 2/3 of 18, first you need to figure out how much 1/3 is. These types of problems will be a little harder for kids to solve. Mine are tempted to just guess… and then I remind them to start by figuring out 1/3.
LEGO bricks lend themselves SO well to all kinds of fraction activities. In fact, I gave LEGO fractions their own post because I have five different activities. See them here: LEGO Fraction Activities
Have fun exploring with fractions!