Do You want a Half of a Banana, or a Whole Banana? Starting Fractions Early

When it is time for a snack or dessert, a banana is so nice and sweet for the little ones.  At first, when I have asked each of my kids whether they want a half of a banana, or a whole banana, they look at me like I am crazy.  So I take out a banana and show them a whole banana, then I take that banana and show them half.  Usually, they will say that they want a whole banana and then go eat because of course they want a whole banana.  It was not to test them on the idea of whole, or half.  It was giving them the vocabulary to use to describe how much of something they wanted.

One whole banana

Why would anyone want half a banana?

With my two boys being so little and close in age, sometimes there would be only one banana left.  If both were to get a banana, we would need to cut this in half.  This is the moment to now see half as equal parts because for kids, each person should get the same as the other, right?

Taking the knife to cut the banana, I placed the knife at different parts of the banana, asking them each time if this was cutting the banana in half.  “Would the both of you get the same amount if I cut it here?” “Would he get more or less of the banana, if I cut it here?” “Where would I cut the banana so that both of you get the same amount?”


After cutting the banana in half, I put the two pieces, one over the other, to have the boys see if both pieces were equal.


So, there it is.  It took me longer to type this out, than it did to show my kids in real time about half and whole.

Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 18 months to 3 years?

Click to access ScheduleofActivitiesfor18mosto3yrsofage_0.pdf


1. Tuesday-Numbers

2. Wednesday-Big and Small

3. Thursday- More and Less


Something to Think About:

Start asking your little one about whole and half. This does not need to happen each and every time someone asks for a banana because then it starts to sound scripted. Once in a while, bring it up as this lesson should only take no more than five minutes.

Teaching math to the little ones should be a part of life so that they can see early on how math relates to their world. The more we do this, the less foreign it will be when they begin school. Math is a part of life, just as it is with sharing a banana.

copyright 2015 learning math with mom

copyright 2015 learning math with mom


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s