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How to Teach More and Less

Updated on September 13, 2014

ASL Sign for More

Teaching the Concept of More and Less begins at the Toddler Age

More and less is an important concept for children to understand. Children are usually able to become acquainted with the concept of more as toddlers. In preschool and kindergarten, they will continue to show their understanding through comparing groups as more or less, sometimes called more or fewer. It is never to early to get started, here are a few easy ways to introduce the concept of more into daily life.

Before You Teach More or Less

Review One to One Correspondence

Before you begin teaching more and less, you may want to begin by reviewing one to one correspondence.

You will need:

*6 cups

*6 straws

1. Place six cup in a row in front of the child

2. Count the cups 1 to 6 and you set them down

3. Have the child repeat each number after you

4. Repeat steps 1-3 with the straws.

5. Point to the group of cups. Say, "This is a group of cups." Point to the group of straws. Say, "This is a group of straws."

6. Match the 2 groups by placing the straws in the cups one at a time.

7. Ask the question, "Are there as many cups as there are straws?"

Success: Child should answer, "yes."

NOTE: The activity can be repeated as often as necessary with socks and shoes, plates and forks, etc. until one-to-one correspondence has been mastered. More ideas for mastering one-to-one correspondence can be found here.

Lego Train Activity to Teach More

Comparing Two Groups

You will need:

*5 blue legos,

*3 red legos

*3 green legos

1. Using the red legos, join them together to make a pretend "train."

2. Have the child repeat using the blue and green legos.

3. Place the 3 "trains" next to each other. Ask the child, "Which color trains have the same number?" "Is there a train that has a different number?"

Success: The child will be able to identify that the blue train has a different number of cars.

NOTE: If the child doesn't successfully identify the train with a different number, tell him/her that the blue one has a different number because it is longer. Repeat the activity until the child understand the concept of a different number.

4. Explain that the blue train is longer because it has MORE.

5. Write the word MORE where the child can see it.

Worksheets to Practice MORE

After You Teach More, Reinforce It!

The following worksheets from Kidzone allow students to compare 2 groups:

Find the Group with More

. . . . . . . . . .

Color the Group with More

Color the group with MORE

Color the Group with Less

Color the group with LESS

These worksheets request the child draw ONE MORE item onto a group of items to begin the concept of addition:

Draw More

Color the Group with LESS

. . . . . . . . .

Circle the Group with More

Circle the group of animals that has more.

Drawing Activity to Practice More

Draw More Objects for Teaching More and Less

Activity for Drawing More

You will need:

Pen/Pencil

Paper

1. Draw 2 large round circles on a paper.

2. Tell the child they are cookies. Ask the child if he can draw 2 chocolate chips on the first cookie.

3. After the child has draw 2 chocolate chips on the first cookie, ask him/her to draw MORE chocolate chips on the second cookie.

4. Ask the child how he knows there are more chocolate chips on the second cookie. Count the chocolate chips if necessary.

ASL Sign for More

ASL Sign for More
ASL Sign for More

Signing More in ASL

It is common to teach children to sign more as toddlers. Some parents express concern that knowledge of sign language discourages children from speaking. Studies show the opposite. Sign language actually encourages development of speech. This video shows the sign for more in ASL. Infants that have not yet learned to speak can tell you more juice, more crackers, etc. using the sign for more.

Signing More in ASL
Signing More in ASL

More in ASL

Step 2

Begin with the fingers apart, as shown above. Then tap them together as shown in this photo. That is the sign for MORE.

Activity to Teach Less

After Teaching More... Teach LESS!

You will need:

*Paper

*Pencil/Pen

1. Draw a row of five uniformly shaped circles on a paper.

2. Directly below the first row, draw a row of 3 circles.

3. Draw lines to match circles 1 - 3 from each row to show one to one correspondence for those.

4. Circle the row that has less.

5. Write the word less beside the row and explain to the child that there are not enough circles in that row to match them up with the other row, therefor it has LESS.

More and Less Activity Links

Explore more ideas for teaching the more and less concept to young children. Have some fun make a game of it.


  • When you off a child two groups of a favorite food, they readily know which group has more. Use pretzels, or any food manipulative, to help teach the concept of more and less to kids.

    Teach More and Less with Pretzels

Help for Teaching More and Less

Personal Experience

When I was teaching more and less to my children who have special needs, I found what really helps is to line up rows of objects and refer back to the one on one correspondence when necessary. For example, draw a row of bats lining up exactly with a row of balls. This will help the child understand which row has more and which row has less. Draw a line to match up each bat with a ball if necessary. When all the lines are drawn, say, "Oh, there are more bats!" The child can visually see that there are bats left with no corresponding ball to match. When working on the concept of less, say, "Oh, there are not enough balls to go with the bats. There are LESS balls."

Repeat with rows of pictures that have a natural correspondence, plates and forks, shoes and socks, straws and cups, cookies and lunchboxes, etc.

Sesame Street: I Love You More (Less)

Kermit Explains More and Less

Sesame Street: More Spaghetti

Kermit's More and Less Lecture

Do you have ideas to teach more and less? - Leave them HERE!

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    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 5 years ago

      Wonderful lessons for a topic that many young children find confusing

    • profile image

      poutine 5 years ago

      well presented lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lesson...

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 5 years ago

      A valuable learning concept ... I think my dad did it to us, but with our allowance ... more was a quarter; less was a dime! Those were the good old days.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 4 years ago

      Very useful ideas for concept formation among younger children. More and Less can give the proper direction while arriving at a solution. This subsequently can be applied for other concept at a later stage of learning. Good lens.

    • LewisAndKatie profile image

      LewisAndKatie 4 years ago

      Some fantastic ideas here. I have used 'Compare Bears' to help teach more and less but some of these ideas would be useful to reinforce ideas!

    • EllieHarper profile image

      EllieHarper 4 years ago

      Great ideas, thanks.

      I find that the "more" ASL sign is one of the first signa taught to children with language difficulties. This is a peeve of mine as this sign really doesn't mean anything. Always better to work on the request and to practice "cookie" 10x instead of more.

      But for more or less concepts this is great

    • mommyplus3kids profile image

      mommyplus3kids 3 years ago

      This is a very helpful lens for any mother.

    • profile image

      2envelopparadox 3 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      Anita Russell 10 months ago

      Hi,

      Really appreciated this post!

      We constantly struggle with teaching relational concepts to our kids with autism.

      Do you have any other resources on this topic that are could access?

      Thanks so much for sharing :)

      Anita (Australia)

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