The ability to compare is natural to children. They see when things are different. The thing we need to work on it correct vocabulary AND correct comparisons.
- Comparing length/height: Provide a variety of items and have your child choose two. Ask them to tell you which is longer/taller or shorter. Demonstrate how to line up the end to get an accurate comparison. Once your child sees the comparison of two items, provide more items and have him/her line them up in order from shortest to tallest or reverse.
- Comparing weights: Provide your child with a variety of times and talk about what is heavier/lighter. This is much easier to do with items that are VERY different in weights. Which would weigh more a baseball or a ping pong? Which would weight less a piece of paper or a book? You can also introduce your child to scales.
- Comparing quantities: Provide your child with a variety of objects and have him/her put them into groups and then count to compare. Here are a few skills that are important with this skill.
- Matching to compare— line up the groups side by side so you see which has more/less (who does not have a partner)
- Count to compare— count this group, count that group, which number is bigger? smaller?
- Same quantities— don’t always have different quantities.
When providing items for comparisons do not always provide groups with the same sized objects. Often times a child will see 3 beach balls as more than 7 ping pong balls because the larger item takes up more space.
Always have your child prove it to you. Show me how you figured that out. Often times children will guess or try to watch you for your answers. Getting children to talk about math is so important.