Teaching Math at Home: Greater Than and Less Than Activities

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Fun with Math

Greater than and less than math activities are fairly simple to do at home. They are fun because you can joke around as you do them. Be careful though, once your child learns about greater than and less than quantities, you’re apt to hear “but she has more than me!” often.

Once your children start learning these concepts, they are on their way to understanding more complex mathematical concepts and symbols. Learning basic arithmetic symbols and meanings builds the foundation for future knowledge. Learning these concepts at a young age has many advantages; children are still very reliant on your praise to make them feel good as opposed to when they get older and more reliant on you for things like car keys.

Use some of the tips and activities below to help your child learn these concepts and have fun while doing so. Enjoying what they learn helps take the anxiety out of future lessons and instills pride and confidence.

  • Have your child help you as you prepare dinner. Let your child pour the drinks or help you as you pour drinks. Use cups of the same size so that the child can easily compare which one has a greater amount.
  • If you’re on a diet or watching how much food you consume, ask your child to help you to make sure you are eating “less than” someone at the table who requires more food. A great way to help them practice their symbol knowledge and to make them feel like they are helping you in secret is to have them give you the “greater than” symbol aimed at the person’s plate who has more food as opposed to saying it out loud.
  • Ask your child to help you with chores. Use this opportunity to practice these skills as you ask them questions such as, “Is the amount of the dishes in the strainer greater than or less than the pile we have left to do?”
  • Teach your child about money using these skills. Get out the change jar and count the coins. Put the change in separate piles and have your child help you count it. Then, ask them which pile is greater than or less than the other. Once the piles have been discussed, talk about different coin values. Hold a coin, such as a quarter in one hand and a dime in the other; then ask your child which has greater or less value than the other.