I’m constantly looking for sneaky ways to teach my kids skills while we’re doing fun activities. One of the best places I’ve found to do this is the kitchen. My boys are always game to join me when I’m cooking and they enthusiastically measure ingredients, stir batters and even peel and cut fruits and veggies (under close supervision, of course).
A few weeks ago I was baking cookies with my first grader when he asked me what the numbers on the measuring cups meant. So I took a few minutes to explain what 1/2, 1/3, and 1/4 mean in relation to the 1 cup measure. He eyes quickly began to glaze over, so I decided he needed a little hands on experience with the concept.
We started with 1 and 1/4 cup measuring cups and the container of brown sugar. I like using brown sugar because it packs nicely and is less likely to fly everywhere when you pour it from one cup to the other. (My son likes it because he can sneak a little pinch here and there.)
Start by filling the 1/4 measuring cup, packing the brown sugar tightly with a spoon.
Dump the sugar into the one cup measuring cup.
Continue to fill the 1/4 cup and add to the 1 cup measure, packing it down between each addition.
After four additions the one cup measure will be filled to the rim and your child will have a better understanding of how fractions work!
Wendy Copley writes about cooking, crafts, parenting and her obsession with lunch boxes at Wendolonia.
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