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Teaching Same and Different

Updated on February 7, 2018
hsschulte profile image

I love to share lesson plans with other teachers and homeschooling parents.

Same and Different Shapes, Colors, and Sizes

Colored stars
Colored stars

How to Teach Kids the Prenumber Math Concepts Same and Different

To begin doing math, kids need to be able to differentiate between things that are the same and things that are different. This concept of same and different is used later for sorting, grouping and classifying objects. It is one of the basic building blocks of math and the child should be comfortable with this concept before moving on. You can help kids learn the concepts of same and different through some fun games and activities listed below.

Circle the One That Is Different

Same and Different Worksheet
Same and Different Worksheet

Classifying Objects

Classification of Color, Size, Shape

Same and different can be taught by classifying objects, or sorting. Often we say, "these are the same color," "these are the same shape," etc. as we sort and classify objects. Below are different methods for sorting by shape, color, and size.

You can also introduce classifying adventures into your day by going outside and talking about leaves, flowers, toys, cars or any other object you see. Talk to the child about how these objects are the same, or different.

Workbook for practicing Same and Different

Home Learning Tools, Different or Same (Preschool Learn, Practice and Play Set)
Home Learning Tools, Different or Same (Preschool Learn, Practice and Play Set)

This is a workbook for practicing the preschool skill of same and different. It comes with stickers to reward a job well done. It also comes with practice cards that can be used as flash cards, or as a memory game.


Same Color

Identifying Same and Different Colors and Sizes
Identifying Same and Different Colors and Sizes

Same Color

Teaching Children to Sort by Color

Tell the child that a color is an "attribute." Explain to the child that objects have many attributes, such as color, shape and size. Tell the child that you can match, or group, objects by attributes like color.

Collect several objects of the same size and shape, but different colors. Have the child group, or sort, the objects by color. Objects that work well for this activity are blocks, or cut out shapes of various colors. If you don't have any, you can easily print them.

If you are sorting by color, but have objects of different shapes, children will sometimes get confused about whether they are sorting by shape or color. For simplicity, ensure the objects are the same size and shape initially and vary only the color.

Sort by Shape

Shapes - Same and Different
Shapes - Same and Different

Sorting by Shape

Teaching a Child to Group by Shape

Once the child has mastered the idea of sorting by color, tell the child you will be sorting by shape instead. Begin with only two shapes, such as a circle and square. Ask the child to point to all the squares. Tell them these shapes are the same because they are all squares. Now, ask the child to find all the circles. Explain to the child that the circles are all the same.

If you have circles and squares that are different sizes or colors, the child will sometimes get confused. It is important when you are teaching "same shape" to have the color and size identical, so that the child is focusing only on the shape of the object.

Once the child has mastered the concept of same shape, you can vary the colors and ask the child to sort only by shape or color. Practice with the child until they are able to ignore one attribute, color for example, and sort shapes regardless of color.

Free Same and Different Worksheets Online

Same and Different Worksheets - Find the one that is different
Same and Different Worksheets - Find the one that is different

FREE printable worksheets online to help a child learn SAME and DIFFERENT~

Kids Learning Station:

Find the Picture that is the Same (ie. cars and oranges)

Find the Shape that is Different

Same and Different Worksheet

Choose the one that's different
Choose the one that's different


Original Memory
Original Memory

Memory is a commercial game that reinforces the concept of same and different. The goal of the game is to collect pairs of cards with the SAME pictures. It you turn over a card that is DIFFERENT, the turn is passed to the next player. You can also print out pictures online to make your own memory game cards. As the child, practices this skill his/her attention to same and different will increase, you may add more cards to make the game more challenging.


Zoe Demonstrates Same and Different

© 2010 hsschulte

Questions and Comments about Same and Different - Leave them Here!

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    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 3 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      The teaching aids of today are very helpful, wish I had these available to me when I was in grade school.

    • homemaker123 profile image

      homemaker123 6 years ago

      Great lens. My son just started schooling and i was looking for some worksheets on same and different concepts. Thanks for sharing this.