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Beginning Learning:

Size, Shape & Colour

  • Size is relative. e.g. A mouse is large to an insect but small to a person

  • There are graduations of size: large, larger, largest

  • There is a sliding scale of vocabulary relating to size: e.g. microscopic through to enormous

  • There are three primary colours: red, blue, yellow

  • Secondary colours are produced by blending primary colours

  • Shades of colour are produced by adding white or black


Keeping it simple: Beginning with Big and Little

  • Developing the concept that size is relative. For example we are huge to an ant but tiny next to a Blue Whale.

  • Over time develop a vocabulary around size. For example: Microscopic, tiniest, small, middle-sized, large, larger, largest, gigantic, infinite, shortest, short, middle sized, tall, taller, tallest, or mid-length, long, longer, longest, wide, wider, widest, narrow, narrower, narrowest, etc
















​​Activity Ideas

  • Compare two items at a time. Initially which is bigger and which is smaller? Swap items. When they've grasped that concept introduce which is longer? And later again introduce which is wider? Substitute pictures of real items and see if your child can remember some items that are always larger or smaller than the other item.

  • Expand on the above, ordering three to five items according to size. For example: Ordering the people in your family according to height, ordering your saucepans, etc.

  • Building structures out of blocks, or interlocking bricks, or empty cartons and discussing the height as they do so. e.g. You could comment encouraging them to make a part of their building taller, longer, wider, etc?

  • Measuring pieces of wool against one another and sorting them from shortest to longest and then using them for a collage.

  • Comparing volumes of containers while in the bath. Which has more/ less? Which is half full? Which overflows? Rank the containers according to which holds the most to the least.

Pink and Black Butterfly
Confident Young Man

  • There are many examples of simple shapes in our environment

  • Shapes are made up of joined lines. Lines can be straight or curved. Some have corners. They all have an inside and an outside.

  • Simple shapes can be identified and classified into circles, squares, rectangles and triangles

  • Some shapes can tesselate, others can't.


Keeping it simple: Beginning with Circle, Triangle, Square and Rectangle

Complete Puzzle



  • Tip: Say circles are like wheels. Look at a circle. Discuss it has one side that goes the whole way around. Look for environmental examples of a circle. Wheels, pots, bottoms of jars, bottoms of paper tubes.

  • Make a picture out of patty pans

  • Make Lego models and add wheels

  • Discuss how circles make our lives easier



  • Tip: Explain that squares have four sides and are the 'boring' ones. No matter how many times they turned themselves over, they were always the same.

  • Make a picture out of squares. Notice how the shapes can tesselate exactly.

  • Look for environmental examples of squares: paper packaging, the sides of stackable crates, sides of dice, some snack biscuits or water crackers

  • Locate how many squares in your loungeroom

kids bedroom

Within your own home there are many examples of size, shape and colour. Take you child's bedroom for example.

There are many opportunities to identify & sort sizes, shapes and colours and develop a language of comparison around them.


Keeping it simple: Beginning with Red, Blue and Yellow

  • Developing the concept of colour and identifying basic primary colours: red, blue, yellow plus black and white.

  • Showing how to mix primary colours to make green, orange, purple, brown and identify them.

  • Add black and white to palette and identify these shades of colour.

  • Look at what happens with the addition of white. E.g. Red becomes pink and shades of colour like light green, paler pink, light blue, apricot, mauve, fawn, lemon, etc.

  • Over time experimenting with colours to create colours and name them appropriately.

Red Head Baby

Activity Ideas

  • Sort counting items into red, blue, yellow plastic bowls. When they can manage introduce green, then later orange and purple. Sorting clothes pegs onto coloured cardboard is a favourite. I cut cardboard into different echidna shapes and both of my children loved clipping the pegs onto the correct coloured echidna.

  • Paint a picture using three basic colours. Look at what happens where the paint overlaps. You can use cake colours to create simple dot pictures where colours overlap.

  • Have a specific colour day to highlight a specific colour beginning with their favourite colour, then your favourite colour, then other family member's favourite colours.

  • Make a repeating pattern necklace using patty pans.

  • Make chalk rainbows on the outside path and sing 'I Can Sing a Rainbow.' Read the book 'The Chalk Rainbow.'

  • Provide pencils and textas for your child to draw with and discuss the colours used incidentally.

  • Make a rainbow birthday cake and discuss colours. Blow up different coloured balloons for a birthday party and have your child help you make a colourful sign for the party.

Rainbow Cake


  • Explain that a triangle has three sides. Tip: Show that if a bug tries to climb up on the side it can be difficult for them and they slide back down due to the slope. So they try and try again (Tri...angle).

  • Look for environmental examples of triangles: roofs, pennants, bridge supports, cranes, Give Way signs, patterns maybe patterned tiles

  • Cut sandwiches into triangles. Look for triangular shaped foods in the supermarket: spinach and feta triangles, gow geys, lentil triangles

  • Build a tent and discuss the shape of the roof. Why are triangles useful? For strength in buildings. For run off during rain, etc


  • Tip: Explain that a rectangle is a bit like a square. But somebody stretched and stretched it and wrecked it. I also added that it was the lazy one of the shapes because even if it stood up tall, it also liked to lie down a lot on its side.

  • Look for environmental examples of rectangles in your home. They're everywhere.

  • Your child might be able to take photos of the rectangles in your home. E.g. Cupboards, walls, books, boxes, folders, sheets of paper, table tops, bricks, phones, computer screens, playing cards, etc


For more Maths Ideas go to the links below:

Best Parenting is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. It highlights what successful parents do differently to those who struggle. Best Parenting provides free online resources for busy parents who want the best practical advice on: how to give kids a best start in life, better tips for parenting toddlers, effective child rearing strategies, behaviour management tips, successful goal setting and organizational strategies for successful families, easy family dinner recipes, self-care tips for time-poor parents and free kids learning games. The aim of Best Parenting is to provide quality practical parenting tips and advice to best help children and families succeed, using the convenience of a website.

This website provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. Best Parenting does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or with every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this website to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Similarly users of this website are advised to follow any recommendations for seeking professional advice as all information on this site is generic. Best Parenting is an independent website and is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

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