The greater than and less than symbols are difficult for many children to remember. They don’t need to be. Even preschoolers can easily understand the concept of the greater than, less than alligator. Today, I have an activity that’s hands on and uses a fun chant along with a printable from our Montessori-inspired alligator pack (subscriber freebie).
Fabulous, Hands-on, Greater Than, Less Than Alligator Math – YouTube Video
I love the chant in this short video!
Materials Used in the Greater Than, Less Than Alligator Math Activity
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links (at no cost to you).
- Multicraft Wooden Tray
- Fish Beads (These are the same ones I used for our penguin theme.) I used 17 fish so that there would be enough if 9 and 8 were chosen. (Update: If the fish beads I got are unavailable, you’ll find similar ones here.)
- Small Bambu Condiment Cup for the Fish Beads
- Sandpaper Numerals (Mine are from Alison’s Montessori. You can also get sandpaper numerals on Amazon. Or you can use the alligator numerals 0-20 from our subscriber freebie.)
- Free Printable: Greater Than, Less Than Reference by Rosemarie Galvin at Teachers Pay Teachers
- Free Printable: Greater Than, Less Than Alligator Photos and Symbols (our Montessori-inspired alligator pack subscriber freebie)
Greater Than, Less Than Alligator Math Activity
Preschoolers who are comfortable counting objects can do a hands-on version of greater than, less than. Zoey counted out fish for each number and then pointed to the greater number.
As you can see in the video, this chant is lots of fun and a great way to introduce greater than and less than!
One way to do this activity is to first lay out the greater than or less than symbol shown so that it “eats” the fish.
Then you can move the symbol between the two numerals and read the answer.
Children who can read could use the second set of symbols (shown in the collage at the top of the post). The printable could be cut apart, too, so the child can match up the words with the alligator photo and math symbol.
While this certainly wouldn’t be essential to do with preschoolers, it’s a fun activity and takes away the confusion of the greater than and less than symbols. When children are later introduced to the abstract symbols alone, they should feel confident and happy about their math experiences.
Alligator Printables and Activities for Preschoolers-First Graders
Montessori-Inspired Alligator Pack for DIY Cards and Counters, Number or Letter Matching, Number or Letter Basket, Bead Bar Work, Hands-on Math Operations, Greater Than/Less Than Work, Number or Letter Salt/Sand Writing Tray, Letter Tracing, DIY Movable Alphabet, and Creative Writing (subscriber freebie, so just sign up for my email to get the link and password – or check your inbox for the current password if you’re already a subscriber).
Happy alligator math!
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