Remember that Sesame Street song, “One of these things is not like the other, some of these things are kind of the same….”? Why was it a staple part of the program? Because….being able to identify & express similarities and differences has much bigger implications than may appear. This skill helps to strengthen memory, develop higher-order thinking skills, increase comprehension and helps promote thinking & communicating with clarity and precision. Also as children grow, being able to compare and contrast will enhance their writing skills. Today’s post provides and example of how to begin developing this skill with your toddler.
Here’s one activity we did today from the Leaping Lilies curriculum
This week’s Theme: Dinosaurs
Activity Description: Let’s Talk: Use dinosaur figurines to engage your tot in conversation. Encourage your tot to articulate the similarities and differences between the dinosaurs.
This Activity’s Main Area of Development: Language Development
Specific Skill: Compare and contrast
O&M’s Ages (at the time of posting this): 2 years + 5 months
- Vocabulary (Review some vocabulary before-hand)
– Review vocabulary that is specific to dinosaurs. We did spikes, horns, claws, scary, friendly.
– Review ‘same’ and ‘different’.
- Provide an Example (Show your tot how to compare and contrast)
– Modelling (meaning you do it first) is a good way to give an example.
– Doing one together can provide a guided example (they have help vs. doing it independently). This is what we did (see video below)
- Try it Independently (Encourage your tot to discuss the similarities and differences on his/her own)
– Gently correct mistakes and remind them of vocabulary. For example, if your to says the wrong colour or says something is the same when it really is different, you would just quickly review what the words mean.
– If your tot needs assistance, you can give clues. Ex. (“I see this one has big sharp teeth. Does that one have the same teeth?”)
– Let your tot choose the dinosaurs he/she would like to talk about.
Here are the girls’ attempts at comparing and contrasting independently. It was fairly challenging for them so I gave them assistance (usually in the form of a question).
In case you can’t understand M in the video below: To contrast she notes the colours. To compare she says they are both dinosaurs, they are both scary (and one is not happy).
This video starts out with M asking O which one she likes. In case you can’t understand O in the video below: To compare she says they have long teeth, long arms and long claws. To contrast she notes the colours.
The girls already compare and contrast things often when it is in relation to their life such as, “that girl has the same colour coat as me”, etc. This also occurs frequently when reading books – click here to see a post about making connections between storybooks and self. This idea of comparing/contrasting two things to each other vs. comparing/contrasting themselves with something is new and will continue to improve with practice.