If you're from Massachusetts, chances are you've heard of Polar Seltzer.
What!? You haven't?! Ok, read this article before continuing.
Back to the seltzer.
The summer of 2017 brought us four limited edition flavors of bubbly bliss: Unicorn Kisses, Mermaid Songs, Yeti Mischief, and Dragon Whispers. Isabella, who loves anything related to unicorns (and who can blame her) wanted to pick up a 6-pack of Unicorn Kisses so we could all give it a try. Because we have been working on sharing in the Milkosky household, almost any time we purchase anything at the store, Isabella always wants to make sure we have enough to share with everyone.
"Mommy, do we have enough for everyone?" she asked.
"If there are four people in our family and six cans of Unicorn Kisses, do you think we have enough?"
"Hmm," she pondered. "Mommy, Daddy, Jacqueline, and me!" she squealed as she tapped a different can while announcing each name.
"We do have enough!"
"That's right," I responded.
"And we can give this one to Emma and this one to Jackson," she said as she pointed to the remaining two cans.
"Great idea," I said. "We have six cans of Unicorn Kisses. We have four people in our family. That means we can each have one can and there will be two cans left over." I demonstrated by grouping four cans together and removing them from the group of six.
"And we can give those cans to Emma and Jackson!"
"Yes, we can bring them over tomorrow." (Sorry, Cassandra, we forgot to bring them over.)
"Do you want to play a game about sharing seltzers?" I asked.
"Yes!" she gleefully jumped.
We headed to the toy area and sat down.
"What if there were only three of us? You, me, and Jacqueline. Would we have enough for everyone?" I asked.
"Yes," Isabella responded as she tapped each seltzer and said our names.
"Could each one of us have more than one?" I asked.
"Hmmmm," she paused. "I don't know."
I took three cans from the six that we had and placed one in front of Isabella, one in front of Jacqueline, and one in front of myself.
"We each have one can, but we still have some cans left."
Before I could finish my thought, Isabella began placing the remaining cans in front of all of us.
"Mummy, look, we can each have two!"
"Very good!" I responded. "Now, what if it were just you and Jacqueline. How many could you each have?"
Isabella placed a can in front of herself and then in front of her sister. Then, she placed another in front of herself and another in front of her sister. She continued this until she exhausted the pile of six cans.
"We can each have three!" she announced.
"Correct," I responded.
We continued the "sharing seltzer" game for the next half hour--modifying the number of people with whom to share as well as the number of original cans (I broke out another 6-pack). To my daughter, it was all a game, but to me, it was a nice introduction to division and remainders.
What happens when you have to share with more people? With fewer people? What happens when you have more cans to share? Fewer cans to share? Are there any cans left over when you share? Why or why not? These are all great questions you can ask your preschooler when you play the "sharing seltzer" game. These questions help to lay a great foundation for the concepts of division and remainders.
The use of manipulatives, in this case, the seltzers, will help your preschooler have a more concrete understanding of division by allowing her to physically see how division and remainders work. Her teachers in middle school and high school will also use manipulatives to discuss division and remainders, especially when it comes to more complex topics such as imaginary numbers. Don't worry, for now, you and you and your preschooler can just stick to imaginary friends...and sharing seltzer with them.