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Language and Communication understand and use comparatives and superlatives  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


The child will understand and use comparatives (ending in "-er") and superlatives (ending in "-est").

Early years skill:not specified
Early years typical range:not specified
P-scales/Curriculum skill:Maths Shape Space and Measures
P-scales/Curriculum level:L1b
TAP skill:Language (old categories)
TAP level:TAP56
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Primary (5-11yrs) info
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Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
About my class

Classroom equipment:




Prompt cards with the key words (as indicated in the text of the activity) written on.

1. Working with a group of children, help the group to line up in order of height.

2. Ask one child to identify the tallest (or biggest) and shortest (or smallest) person. Help as necessary.

3. Give the tallest person a card that says "tallest", and give the shortest person a card that says "shortest".

4. Explain that 'taller' means "more tall". Find two children who have quite different heights. Say e.g. "Martin is taller than Fatima". Explain that 'shorter' means "more short". Say e.g. "Fatima is shorter than Martin"

5. Ask each child to identify one person who is taller and shorter than themselves.

6. You can repeat this activity comparing other features such as:

biggest/smallest shoes

longest/shortest hair

widest/narrowest hand span

heaviest/lightest person

person who can jump the longest/ shortest distance

person who lives nearest to/furthest from school

most/fewest brothers and sisters

most/fewest letters in the name

longest/shortest hair

oldest/youngest person

or anything else you think of!

This is a group activity.

This work could be tied in with practical maths activities such as measuring and weighing people.

You could make a graph or table to record the information.

It is easier to make comparisons between two people (or things) that are very different, rather than things that are quite similar (e.g. a very tall and a very short person, rather than two people who are almost the same height.)

Sort the pencils

Selection of pencils

1. Ask the child to sort pencils into order of length.

2. Ask them to identify the longest and shortest pencil. Give help/prompts as necessary.

3. Ask them to identify a pencil that is longer or shorter than the pencil you indicate.

An activity for individuals.

Order of age

Pictures showing people at different stages of life (e.g. baby, toddler, young child, older child, teenager, young adult, middle aged adult, old adult)

1. First ask the child to put the pictures in order of age.

2. You can make prompt cards showing the words "oldest" and "youngest" if you like.

3. Ask the child to identify the oldest and youngest person and to put the cards in the correct place if appropriate.

4. Ask them to identify a person who is older or younger than the person you indicate.

An activity for individuals.

This could be linked to a Science or PSHE activity about growth and development.

You could use pictures from an animal's life cycle as well as a human's.

Superlative pass the parcel

Pass the parcel consisting of the following:

A small prize in the centre (a bag of sweets/raisins etc. which the group can share is a good idea).

Several layers of paper, each one needs a sticky label with a description on it. Each description needs to contain a superlative e.g.:

the oldest person

the youngest person

the tallest person

the shortest person

the person with the biggest feet

the person with the smallest feet.

the person with the longest hair

the person with the shortest hair

the person who was born furthest away

the person who was born nearest

the person who lives furthest away

the person who lives nearest

the person who has the most brothers and sisters

the person who has the fewest brothers and sisters

the person who speaks the most different languages

the person who has had fewest turns at the game

anything else you can think of!

1. Provide the group with the parcel.

2. Explain that they need to read the description on the label, work out who is being described, then pass the parcel to them.

3. Give the parcel to one person and help them read the description.

4. Help the group work out who is being described.

5. Help the child holding the parcel pass it on to the right person.

6. That person removes one layer of paper, reads the next description and passes it on, and so on.

7. At the end of the game, encourage the winner to share the prize, if appropriate.

This is a group activity.

This activity requires a significant amount of preparation.

If you use alternate coloured paper to wrap each layer, it is easier for the children to see when they have got all the paper off.

Make sure you have access to a bin when you are playing the game!

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