Don’t underestimate the incredible thinking skills that young children have. Through this activity, your toddler will compare objects and ask questions to help understand their differences in quantity.
Exploring More & Less With Objects
Help grow your toddler’s understanding of more or less in terms of quantity with this STEM activity.
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- Two small bowls or boxes of the same size
- Small objects found around the house (hair barrettes, legos, crayons, buttons, keys, coins, toothpicks, clothespins, bracelets, etc.)
- Encourage curiosity and problem solving
- Promote the understanding of more or less in terms of quantity
- Assist in the use of mathematical vocabulary such as more, less, greater than, less than, larger, smaller and same
In the Future:
- The process of making informed guesses about what will happen is a key piece to the process of science that children will need throughout their school life.
- By first understanding the concept of more or less, children are building prior knowledge for the understanding of volume and conservation (that objects don’t change in volume when transferred from one container to another).
There are two ways to think about more or less, either looking at objects or containers. For toddlers, it’s best to start with object comparison. Think about the items and ask which container has more or fewer items than the other container?
Thinking About the Objects:
- Give your toddler two containers that are the same size.
- Ask them to pour some of the chosen objects into one container and some into the other.
- Ask them which container they think has more (or fewer) objects?
- As you are playing, encourage your child to investigate by asking, “I wonder if there is another way we can decide which container has more buttons?”
- They can then come up with a strategy on their own, such as lining both sets of objects up, counting each set of objects or stacking each object.
Be sure to keep it fun and act as investigators. There is no need for a “right” answer at this stage. What’s more important is that your toddler is beginning to understand that not all amounts are the same.
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