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How to Teach Comparing Sizes to Young Kids

Updated on March 10, 2015
Felisa Daskeo profile image

I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.

The Sizes

The Sizes

The young kids usually know the sizes that are commonly used around them such as small and big, but if you show them things to compare they will not be able to distinguish unless you explain it to them. This is why kids need to learn how to compare objects or things.

Just like the other lessons for young kids, there are many factors to consider if you want the young kids to learn more effectively.

One of the most useful things in the classroom for effective teaching is the teacher’s visual as well as audio teaching aids. Unlike the grown up kids who rarely use the visual aids in order to learn; young kids need various kinds of visual aids and audio materials to make learning more effective.

I use these important words for comparing because they are easy for the kids to understand.

big – small

big - bigger

small – smaller

big – bigger – biggest

small – smaller - smallest

tall – short

tall - taller

short – shorter

tall – taller – tallest

short – shorter - shortest

long – short

long - longer

short – shorter

long – longer – longest

short – shorter - shortest

Balls are great examples for comparing sizes.

Lesson Proper: Big and Small

Start the lesson by introducing two sizes at a time so that you can compare. The first sizes that you teach are the small and big. You can make the lesson more fun by using colorful and interesting objects that will hook the kids to the lesson.

Here are objects or things that you can use for big and small.

  • balls
  • boxes
  • animal toys
  • cars
  • blocks
  • jar covers
  • books
  • stuffed toys

All these things plus many more will make the comparing sizes lesson fun and more interesting for the kids.

Real objects are better than pictures.

Talk to the kids just like when you talk to them at play. Kids love a teacher who is soft spoken.

Say; “Children, today we are going to talk about things that are big and small.” Show the kids two objects, then tell them, “This ball is big. And this ball is small. When we say big; it is like this.” Explain how big means by using hand action. Do the same to small so that the kids can compare what is big and what is small.

Ask the kids again. Hold the two objects up and ask them which one is big and which one is small.

Do the same steps to the other objects so that the kids will understand the lesson better.


Give each kid two toy animals. One animal should be small and the other big. Explain to the kids what is small and what is big.

Say, “Children, we will play a game with the toy animals. Remember that you have two animals. One animal is big and the other is small. Now when I say, “big”, put up the big animal, when I say “small”, show your small animals. Are you ready?”

This activity will help develop in the kids quick thinking and recognition. At the same time, they will learn to compare or see the difference of big and small.

Sorting Out Big and Small Things

Teach the kids to sort out things that are big and small. Use two boxes. Label them big and small. Put all the things or objects in a big box. Allow the kids to rummage into the big box and pick any object that they will drop in the proper box. After the activity, show the kids what they did and check if they have correctly sorted out the objects.

Activity Sheets:

Here are some easy to follow directions for activity sheets.

  1. Color the big objects.
  2. Color the small objects.
  3. Box the object that is as big as the object on the left.
  4. Box all the small objects.
  5. Box all the big objects.
  6. Cross out the small objects.
  7. Cross out the big objects.

Other Sizes:

The following are additional lessons about comparing shapes. You can use the same games and paper works or you can use other activities if you have other ideas.

Small - Smaller

Show two small objects to the kids and explain to them that one of the objects is small while the other object is smaller. Give a few examples so that the kids will understand the meaning of small and smaller.

Big - Bigger

Show two big objects or things and explain to the kids that one of the objects is big while the other is bigger. Again, give as many examples as you can for lesson enhancement.

Small – Smaller – Smallest

Compare three things and explain to the children that when there are three things being compared, they should say; small – smaller – smallest.

Big – Bigger – Biggest

Show 3 Big objects and explain to the children that when there are three big objects the comparison would be; big – bigger – biggest.

Follow the same steps when you taught big and small for the following lessons. You can also use the same activities.

  1. Short – Tall

Short – shorter

Long – longer

Short – shorter – shortest

Long – longer – longest

  1. Short – long

Short – shorter

Long – longer

Short – shorter – shortest

Long – longer - longest

You can explain the meaning of short, shorter, tall and taller by picking two pupils to stand in front of the classroom. Choose two pupils with a big difference in height so that the children can see the difference of short and shorter and tall and taller.

You can use also other objects inside the classroom. Or if there are big pictures of trees or other objects you can use them to further explain the meaning of short and shorter as well as tall and taller.

When teaching comparison, it is important for the children to know that when there are only two objects being compared they should use the comparative such as smaller, bigger, shorter, taller, and longer. When there are three objects being compared, the superlative should be used such as smallest, biggest, shortest, tallest, and longest.

© 2013 Felisa Daskeo


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