Fraction Fun on Friday: Learning About Fractions Through Play

For math we read a few books about fractions.  Whenever possible I like to teach my boys math through reading fun books and playing games.

Today we read two books Full House and The Wishing Club. Both of them were absolutely adorable and the kids loved them!

We then played roll- a- whole.  I had the fraction tiles that I got with my McRuffy set and I had ordered some fraction dice from Amazon.   If you don't have any fraction tiles you can order some from Amazon or go to this page and print some off for free.  If you don't have fraction dice you can use regular dice and attach stickers to the sides.

The object is to keep rolling the dice until you have one whole strip filled up.

The boys seemed to like this game (we played three rounds!) and I loved that it worked on many skills pertaining to fractions.

  • Identifying fractions
  • Matching fractions
  • Adding fractions
  • Looking for equivalent fractions 
 Alec's first roll was for 1/4 and he quickly grabbed two of the 1/8th tiles to see if they would work.  That sent the precedent for all of the rounds and rolls.  They were interchanging tiles, comparing sizes, trying to figure out how much more they had left to fill.  It was great!

Playing the game Roll a Whole; Alec is helping Ian figure out what equals 1/3. 
1/6 plus 1/6 equals 1/3
Once we were done Evan wanted to play with the tiles and made up his own game called "Crack the Code."  I never did figure out how it worked but while they were playing Alec was working on filling up the fraction piece chart using assorted colors and sizes of tiles.

They learned so much by just playing with the tiles when our game was over. 

  •  He finally figured out he need 12 of the 12th tiles and 10 of the tenth tiles, etc.  
  • He told me one fourth is the same as one sixth plus one twelfth.  
  • He tried lining the pieces up on the table in a pyramid from smallest to the largest.  
  • He yelled out two one tenth equal one fifth.  
  • He finally filled up the chart using all variations of fractions.  
  • He pointed out that if two twelfths equaled one sixth then he needed 6 twelfth tiles to equal 3 sixths; and so one and so forth.  
  • He also started reducing fractions; four eights is the same as one half!  
  • Once Alec was all done Ian dumped out the tray and put them all back together in the right order matching all the pieces up together.  
  • I heard one tenth, a twelfth, etc. coming out of all their mouths. 
  • I heard Evan yelling "one fifth! one fifth! if I use the one fifth you loose one fifth of your power.  Oh no! One fourth. "   
  • A bit later on he told me he has "six eighths power in his hand."   I have no idea if he was matching that up with the right tile but at least he's getting the vocabulary down!  

 A very successful lesson with the added bonus of free play!

Playing with the tiles Alec arranged them according to size

All filled up randomly by Alec
They may have learned more about fractions on their own playing with the tiles than we did while we were playing our math game together... 

I'm not sure but I am definitely glad I pulled out these tiles to play with today!  It kept them occupied for over 30 minutes and they even pointed out to each other; "hey do you know you're learning about fractions playing right now?"  The best part is that Alec answered "Yep!" with a huge smile on his face.
Alec filling up the holder with assorted tiles

Who could plan math activities to beat this?

More and more I realize I do just need to facilitate (or strew) and watch learning unfold before my eyes.  It seems like every time I question our decision to unschool and start moving toward more traditional ways I am reminded how well they can  and do learn on their own through play.

Ian filled up the chart in order

Preparing to play the game; we dumped out all the tiles and used our fraction dice. 


  1. What an awesome day!!

  2. It even got better; we weren't inside more than 5 minutes when Evan asked to take out the fraction tiles again and they've been playing with those for most of the afternoon. I've heard Alec reading books to Evan and they're all building with Lego's, playing piano and singing. Self- guided math, reading and music!!


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