North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five

Domain: NC Foundations for Early Learning: Cognitive Development (CD)

Subdomain: Mathematical Thinking and Expression

Goal: Children compare, sort, group, organize and measure objects and create patterns in their everyday environment.

Skill Progression: Comparing and Ordering

Age: 4-6 Months

Click here to go to all skills for ages 4-6 Months.

Uses shape, size and color to tell the difference between objects

Situations for Observation of Skill

Observe the child’s interaction with varying objects.

Elicitation Strategy

Present a familiar rattle or toy, small ball and larger ball, special cuddly object. Observe how the child reaches for the toy (shape of hand and fingers). Also observe facial expression.

Behavior Observed

The infant will reach for the familiar rattle with a smile and a hand that is shaped to receive the object, then wave the toy. The child may reach for the small ball with one hand, put it to her mouth, then look at it and touch it. She will reach for the bigger ball with two hands and mouth it. A familiar plush toy may be pulled to the chest or face. These actions indicate the child is recognizing the different characteristics and uses of objects.

Routines-based Intervention (Embedded Instruction)

Help parents understand the importance of object exploration (not just toys). Infants learn about their world through exploring with their senses. Until children can sit unsupported (at around 6 months), it is important for them to hold the child in a sitting position on their lap so the child’s hands are free for object discovery. Children are also more interested in exploration in a sitting position than when lying on their backs.

 North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015

©2015 by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit