Bring out four bowls of different sizes and weights that can be nested inside each other. Have some pieces of paper and a spoon to put in the bowls to stir up. Keep the paper and spoon to one side at first.
Tell the child you need a big bowl to stir up some cookies. Put most of the pieces of paper in the bowl and stir it. Then tell the child you need a little bowl for the rest. (If the child gives you the small bowl first, take the next bowl she gives you and say, “Which one is big?” while pointing to the bowls.) Empty the paper onto the child’s side and give the child all of the bowls, “so you can cook.” Now repeat with, “You need a heavy bowl for the big cookies.” Do the same with the terms tall and short.
The child may say “big” or “little” and use other terms as he plays. Most children will know the meaning of big and little, heavy and tall. Light and short may be heard less frequently.
Encourage early childhood educators and parents to use comparative terms with children to help them understand these concepts. Actual manipulation and comparison with real objects is best for children.
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 2015
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