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By Sharon Parnellearly years practitioner and freelance writer

Cats, dogs and rabbits are all children’s favourites. Use them to inspire speaking and listening, and mathematical language

Popular pets

1 Big cats, little cats

Sort pictures of cats by size

Problem Solving, Reasoning and Numeracy

Shape, Space and Measures

Development matters: are beginning to understand variations in size (22-36 months); order two or three items by length or height (40-60+ months).

Early learning goal: use language such as ‘circle’ or ‘bigger’ to describe the shape and size of solids and flat shapes.

What you needd

Group size: small groups.

‘Big cats, little cats’ activity sheet; labels showing words such as ‘bigger than’, ‘smaller than’, ‘big’, ‘little’ and ‘longer’.

What to do

Look at the pictures of the different-size cats on the ‘Big cats, little cats’ activity sheet with the children. Cut out the pictures and invite each child to put the pictures in the correct order of size.

When the children have sorted the pictures, show them the labels starting with ‘bigger than’ and working down to ‘smaller than’. Check that they understand what each word means as you read them.

Ask the children to talk about the size of each cat, encouraging them to use mathematical language such as ‘bigger than’, ‘taller’, ‘longer’ and ‘smaller than’.

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