The early concept of quantity is based on area

Have you ever asked your little one to count a group of sweets or buttons laid out on the table? Next time you do try this. It’s so interesting to see that at the early stages, the concept of quantity is based on area. For example:

Are there more orange or blue?

quantity based on area

Are there more orange or blue?


You will be able to tell how your child’s concept of quantity is developing in their answer. The child in early stages of developing will commonly answer that there are more orange in the second picture based on area (the orange bobbins are spread over a larger area). Use a larger quantity for older children to see how they are developing.

As usual I brought this into the kitchen but trying the same theory with capacity. I had My Toddler pour equal amounts of water (1 cup) into two different shaped glasses – one tall slender and one wider glass.


I then asked which glass had more water in it to which she answered the tall slender glass as the water came up higher than on the wider glass. When I tried to explain that we were using the same amount of water as we had used the 1 cup measure each time she was blown away.

image (2)

I just love and truly appreciate child development.

By doing these fun exercises, you will help your child grasp this important concept which is a common weakness found among school children.

Most importantly as always make it fun! Try using smarties on cupcakes to practice next time you bake. Spread the same amount of smarties in different patterns.


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