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Understanding ‘many’ and ‘few’

Why is this important?
These kinds of concepts can be tricky to learn, because there is no fixed quantity associated with them (e.g. a ‘few’ leaves on a tree may relate to a hundred leaves, whereas a ‘few’ biscuits left on a plate may only be three). These concepts/words are abstract – they can’t be seen or touched in the same way as a concrete object like a fork can.

What to do

  • Draw a scene on a big piece of paper or photocopy one out of a book (e.g. a playground/park/classroom/street/ room of house).
  • Think of things that belong in the scene (e.g. if your scene is the park, you might include trees, ducks, swings, flowers, children, bikes).
  • Create cards to depict ‘many’ and ‘few’ of each of the objects (e.g. ‘many’ trees on one piece of card and a ‘few’ trees on another).
  • Put out the scene with the two matching objects and ask the child to: ‘Put many trees in the park.’
  • Can the child choose the correct picture and place it on the big picture?
  • Continue presenting extra cards as you would in a matching game, putting ‘many’ with ‘many’ and ‘few’ with ‘few’. You could use Blu-Tack to stick the smaller pictures on.
  • Do the same for the other pairs of objects (e.g. ‘many’/’few’ ducks).