Set up a tub of water outdoors and bring out some toy people and animals.
Tell the child, “We’re having a washing party!” Tell the child to go find rocks to wash. Then find plants to wash. Then pull out the toys and say, “Should we wash the animals or people first.” When the child responds say, “Go ahead.” Then say, “Oh, his head is dirty. Wash it.” “What else is dirty?” Continue with different body parts on the people and animals.
The child will categorize items, though the adult may first need to demonstrate what a plant is, as that may be a new term.
Encourage early childhood educators and parents to observe and help children build their categorical knowledge. They can not only teach the child the name of something (apple), they can label the category (fruit). The child may not immediately remember the category, but over time, as many items are named and put into the category, the category label will make sense.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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