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Puppy Tails

Activity 33: Recognizing differences in length


2 pieces of string, ribbon, or rope, 1 cut long and 1 cut short.

Try It Out:

  1. Point to the strings and say, “I made 2 puppy tails. This tail is short. This tail is long.”
  2. Tell your child that you are going to play a game. Say, “I’m going to put my hand on 1 of the tails and you tell me if the tail I picked is long or short.”
  3. Put your hand on the long tail. If your child gets the correct answer, say, “That’s right, that’s the long tail.” If your child gives an incorrect answer, you can say, “Try again,” and then, “That’s right! That tail is long,” when he gives the correct answer.
  4. Play the game again, this time with the short tail.
  5. Play the game again, but this time, ask your child to put his hand on the tail that is long, and then on the tail that is short.

Making the Most of This Activity:

  1. Try the activity with different lines made with chalk outside. You can also play this game by drawing lines on a piece of paper. At the park, play with sticks of different lengths.
  2. If your child understands the concept of long and short, try making several lines of different lengths. Begin to talk about the idea of longer and shorter: “The green line is longer than the red line.” “This stick is shorter than that stick.”


Was your child able to point to the long tail and the short tail when you asked? If not, he may not be quite ready for this activity and you can try again later.


American Institute for Research

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