Matching, Sorting, and Comparing Size with Trains | Still Playing School

Matching, Sorting, and Comparing Size with Trains

If we have one main educational philosophy here at Still Playing School it is that you can use your child's interests to plan play based activities while introducing academic concepts. This early math lesson evolved naturally from our toddler's interest in Thomas the train!

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When our preschool daughter was a toddler she was very interested in sorting items by size and calling them, "Dadda, Momma, and Baby," for large, medium, and small! Now that her younger brother D is a toddler he is acquiring quite the collection of Thomas the train toys. He has large Thomas Pullback Racers, medium Talking Thomas, and most recently he got small Thomas mini-figures( in a Busy Book with a playmat!) which gave me the idea for this activity.

We gathered all of the trains that had smaller counterparts. E was just as interested as D was in this math invitation. First they categorized the groups by type of train. Here is a whole family of Percys! 

Discriminating between alike and different comes developmentally first before sorting by size. Toddler D was able to put all the same trains together.

Categorizing by size is the next early mathematical concept. We used the words smallmediumlarge and comparisons such as bigger and biggest while playing. 

"Can you put the small Thomas beside the big and medium Thomas?" We were introducing positional words, too. We regrouped by size this time. All the large trains were together, then medium, and small.

The lesson ended abruptly when Dadda James plummeted to the ground beneath our deck. Homeschool preschool lessons are inviting, engaging, and unpredictable! No trains were harmed in this lesson plan.

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  1. We have those Thomas mini figures too - but at my mother's house in the UK! Maybe I need to ask her to bring them over with her when she next visits!

  2. Great idea! I can do this with tractors and construction vehicles