Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you a preschool math activity! It is always a goal of mine to keep STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) enjoyable and easy for parents to incorporate into their daily activities. This activity is brought to us by Education.com. They have TONS of activities for all ages on their site. This particular activity is practicing fractions, and I see a lot of opportunity with just this one activity!
Don’t worry, if your toddler is too young for fractions, I have some great ideas listed on the bottom of this post as to how you can adjust this activity to learn about counting, addition, subtraction, and even make fractions super easy for a young toddler as well!
Waffles and berries make for a great way to help your child learn her fractions. It’s fun, easy and best of all, super delicious! Get your little one’s brain going in the morning as you show her how yummy math can be.
What You Need:
1 frozen waffle
10 fresh blueberries
Optional: syrup, whipped cream, butter, and anything else that might make a waffle delicious
What You Do:
- Place the frozen waffle on a plate.
- Then, let her place the blueberries in a small pile on her plate.
- Next, it’s time to practice those fractions! Call out a random fraction. For instance, you could say ¾.
- Encourage her to place the correct amount of berries in the indented waffle spaces to create a visual representation of the fraction (For example three blueberries in three indentations of the top half of the waffle and four blueberries in four of the indentations on the bottom of the waffle).
- Repeat until she’s done enough hard work to earn her waffle reward.
- Have your child plug the toaster into the wall.
- Then, help her place the waffle in the toaster.
- Let her decide her desired crispness setting. Remember that during the blueberry fraction practice, the waffle may have thawed out a little, so you’ll need to take that into account when deciding how crisp you’d like the waffle to be.
- Help her turn the toaster on.
- Allow the waffle to cook completely.
- Once the waffle ready, let it cool down for about 10 seconds and help her carefully transfer it to a plate.
- Have her add her blueberry toppings as well as any additional toppings she might enjoy.
- Let her dig in!
Caroline is 2.5 and not yet ready for fractions. We’re still counting! LOL! When I read this activity I immediately started coming up with some different takes on it for different skill levels, and adding some good old fashioned teacher in me “scaffolding”.
1. I think a great place to start is literally counting blueberries as you have your toddler fill in the squares. As you fill the squares up, you can even start some addition practice. “If we add one more, we’ll have 3 blueberries”, etc.
2. Another great spin on this would be to have your toddler fill up all of the squares with blueberries, and then start taking them off. You could count blueberries this way, and be talking about subtraction!
3. For a less daunting activity, I’d even start with cutting the waffle into strips. Work with one strip at a time, so there are fewer squares. In the picture above, the waffle has 7 squares per line, so I’d go one step further and cut it to a strip of 6 (for an even number). When there are 3 blueberries in, you could start talking about the concept of fractions and mention that it is half full with blueberries. When you add the first blueberry, you could mention that 1 of 6 squares are full, and 5 of 6 are empty, etc.
There are SOOOO many ideas and ways to incorporate math just in this one activity, and I love that our toddlers will all be super engaged since it’s food related! LOL
Don’t be afraid to talk about big concepts early. My daughter doesn’t know what fractions are yet, but we can still talk about it. This girl has been hearing about electronegativity, polarity, molecules, hydrogen bonding, and SO MUCH more. Does she know what it all means? No. But she’ll be comfortable learning about it when the time comes, because she’s heard all about it since her very first bath! I’m not expecting her to learn the concepts yet, I’m just opening up the dialogue.
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