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Understanding “Long” and “Short”

“The Long And The Short Of It”

Select 2 of the same items that are significantly different in length (long and short):

– Long and short bubble wands.

– Long and short paint brushes.

– Train tracks that can be added to.

– Long and short pieces of string.

– A Slinky that can be pulled long and “squished” short.

– Pop beads that can be made longer by linking them together.

– Blocks that can be placed next to each other to make a train.

– A long and short piece of spaghetti or licorice.


  • Have your child watch as you add to or take away from each of the objects to change its length (e.g., pull the slinky to make it long then let it go to be short again).
  • Draw a long line and a short one next to it.  Have your child move a car along each long and short line.
  • Put a long and short piece of string on the floor or use a piece of chalk and draw a long and short line outside.  Have your child run, walk, or jump on each.
  • Emphasize the length of objects during activities.
  • Help your child locate objects that are long and short.
  • Present your child with two of the same objects that differ only in length and place them into appropriate piles.
  • Verbally exaggerate the length of the object as you name it (e.g., the short piece of string).