Comparing Number Quantities- More or Less

One of the earliest math skills children learn is the concept of more or less.  We know easily (as adults) that five is more than three, but to young ones this takes hands on experience with objects to gain this understanding.  I’ll show you one way to gain that experience through a fun game. My three year old LOVES this game! I made it up for him after he watched me and his brother play the card game, War.

More or Less game

Materials:

• Math Bears
• Playing Cards

Set-up:

• Take out any cards that are not numbers, such as the Joker,  Ace,  King,  Queen,  Jack, you only need the number cards.
• Put the cards face down in one big pile

How to play:

1. Each player takes a card from the top of the pile and places it in front of him or herself with the number facing up.

2. Each player takes out the corresponding number of math bears and lines them up next to his or her card. I would do this in turns. Have the child or parent go first, then switch. That way, the child sees both numbers being constructed.

3. The child may be able to visually see that one number quantity is bigger than the other. If not, try lining them up closer to each other and matching them one to one, like this:

4. Have the child compare which line is longer.  Remember, this only works if you line them up one to one.  Ask the child if they have more or less than you.  If the child has more, he or she wins.  If they have less, you win.

5. What if you both have the same quantity? Teach your child the term “equal”. You both have an equal number of bears.  You both win!

6. Repeat as many times as your child wants.

Teaching Tip: To extend this as your child advances with the skill, you can have your child compare how much larger a number is.  For example, using this method the child can see that five bears is bigger than three bears by two bears.

This game is very simple, but lots of fun!  I made it up on the spot, which is why I love having my math bears handy.  You never know when they may be needed!