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How to Teach Grouping Objects and Sets to Young Kids

I am a certified teacher and have been tutoring young children for more than 30 years. I am sharing my experience in the tutorial business.

Set of Balls


Teaching Sets:

Teaching sets to the children needs a lot of objects or materials because you are going to teach groups of objects.

This lesson about sets will train the kids to recognize the groups of objects in the set and be able to name them as well as determine if the sets have the same number of objects, have less or more. This will also teach the children to have an idea about counting objects.


Introduce the new lesson to the kids. Say: “Today children, we have a new lesson. Let’s look at the things here on the table. These are cars and there are 5 of them. We call a group of things a set. And this set is called a set of cars. Now, let’s count how many cars are there in the set.”

Let the children count the cars then you can ask them again how many cars are in the set. Remember the repeat action that I always mention in my articles. This will make the children think better and learn better. Young kids learn better through repeat process. If they listen to the same words and the same sounds, they can register these things in their mind. This is the reason why if you can do some rhyme exercises, do it regularly to enhance learning for the young kids.

I use these things to teach sets to young kids:

  • toy cars
  • stuffed toys
  • school materials
  • books
  • shapes
  • colors
  • blocks
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • toy animals

More activities for teaching sets to young kids.


A good example for grouping is grouping the children. You can tell 5 boys to go in front. Let them stand in front then ask the other children; “How many children are there in front?”

The children will say, five. Ask the children; “Are they boys or girls?”

The children will answer, boys.

The purpose of the question and answer is to lead the children to understand what you are driving at. You can now say, “Children, we call a group of boys, set of boys.”

Now, you can let the boys sit down. This time call four girls to the front and do the same as you did with the set of boys. This time the children will learn that a group of four girls is also a set of girls.

Using the children as examples for their lessons will make them have more fun which will help them learn better. It is always good to think of good ideas to use when teaching young kids; this way learning will be more effective.

As Many As:

When teaching sets to young kids, it is important also to teach them about sets that have the same number of objects or what we call equivalent sets but to make it simpler for the very young kids, we say, “as many as”.

Give many examples when you explain as many as to the children so that they will be able to understand the lesson. This can be confusing to them but when you give them concrete examples, they will finally be able to get what you are telling them.

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Use real objects to explain the meaning of “as many as”.

For example:

You can use the cars that you used when you introduced the sets. Put the cars on the table then opposite the cars you put an equal number of other objects. Now, when everything is set as you want them on the table; ask the children if the groups of objects have the same number.

If they say yes, follow up with this, “Very good children. The set of cars is as many as the set of Lego. The sets have the same number of objects in them. Now, let’s see if they have equal number of objects.”

Count the objects with the children then explain that they have the same number of objects.

You can also draw some objects on the blackboard so that it is easier to explain.

Like this:

As many as illustration on the board.


After drawing some objects on the board, you can now illustrate what as many as means. Draw lines and arrows to explain to the kids what as many as means. That way they can decipher the meaning of as many as.


Not As Many As

The opposite of as many as will be not as many as or not equal. This lesson is for the very young kids. It is important for them to know what sets are equal and what are not equal.

When you have explained what not as many as means, you can now teach them the symbols that you use for as many as and not as many as. Use the symbols = and≠.

Activity Sheets:

Directions to use for the activity sheets.

  1. Color the box if the first set has as many objects as the second set.
  2. Match the objects to show one to one pairing.
  3. Match the object at the left to the object at the right to show one-to-one match.
  4. Match the sets with the same number of objects or elements.

Less Than/ More Than

This lesson is for the older children because they already understand what is more and what is less. Instead of teaching not as many as, you can teach them less than and more than. You can also teach the children that the objects in a set are called elements.

Give examples for the children to understand what is meant by less and what is meant by more.

When you have explained everything to the children you can teach them how to use the symbols less than, more than and equal to. (<, > and =)

Activity Sheets

Here are some directions that you can use for the activity sheets.

  1. Color the set with lesser elements.
  2. Color the set with more elements.
  3. Check the box with more objects and cross-out the box with lesser objects.
  4. Write the correct symbol in the blank to make the sentence correct.

The children are often confused which symbol to use for less or more. The easiest way to explain this is to tell them that the big mouth always faces the set with more objects. To make the lesson more interesting, you can use pacman to explain the lesson. Tell them that pacman always likes to eat the set with more objects.

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