Basic understanding of fractions is pivotal to much of primary and high school maths and is one of the most difficult concepts for kids to understand.  Try to build these into your regular routines:

  • Involve your child in cooking activities which require half a cup of an ingredient.  He/she could half fill the cup measure for you.
  • When making sandwiches or cutting other foods, talk about how you cut them into halves.  Use words such as half, even, equal, parts.
  • Involve your child in sharing with another ensuring that each person has a fair share.  Both halves need to be equal.
  • Make sure that kids understand that you cannot have a “bigger half” or bigger third, or fifth or anything else.  Fractions must be equal.
  • Link quarters to the clock – quarter past, half past, quarter to, o’clock.  Four quarters only.  Not all fractions are called quarters, only fourths.

Ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc) have strong links to fractions.  Try these:

  • Talk about the order in which you complete everyday activities (e.g. making a cake, putting on the washing, set the table).  Use words like first, next, last, third, to describe the sequence of actions.
  • Give your child directions using the language of order (e.g. “First put the rubbish in the bin and then go and do your homework”).
  • Ask your child to arrange things in order (e.g. the family’s shoes).  Talk about the order using words like first, second, last.