How to Work With Percentages in Math for Kids


Percentages are immensely useful for determining quantities and proportions. They are also useful in making educated predictions of outcomes; for example, there is a 50 percent chance of flipping a "heads" on a coin toss. Starting kids off early in percentages gives them a better understanding of probabilities, fractions and quantities. When instructing kids, there are a few basic points that must be addressed.

Things You'll Need

  • Various coins
  • Chalk board
  • Chalk
  • Draw a series of 10 squares on the chalk board, and fill in 3 of them.

  • Ask the kids what fraction of the squares is filled. If they are unsure, give them the answer and explain.

  • Ask the kids for the decimal version of the fraction. If they need help, tell them it is simply division: 3 divided by 10 equals 0.30.

  • Have the kids calculate the percentage of 3 divided by 10. Explain that a "percent" simply means "per one hundred," and to calculate a percent, you simply multiply by 100. In the example, 0.30 blocks is multiplied by 100 to produce 30 percent. Further tell them that the easiest way to convert a number to a percent is to move the decimal point two places to the right.

  • Lay out several coins and a dollar bill. Explain that there are 100 cents to a dollar, and the coins can represent a fraction of a dollar. As an example, 25 cents is 25/100 of a dollar. Since the fraction of this is 0.25, then a quarter represents 25 percent of a dollar. Likewise, a penny is 1 percent, a nickel is 5 percent and a dime is 10 percent.

  • Lay out one of each coin (a quarter, a dime, a nickle and a penny) and ask the kids to add the coins and calculate the sum's percentage of a dollar. If their answer isn't 41 percent, help them figure out the correct percentage.


  • Photo Credit percent image by Soja Andrzej from
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