Show Me Your Shoe

In this lesson, children will place shoes in order by size.

Lesson for:

(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

Content Area:


Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:

  • Understand patterns, relations and functions
  • Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems and processes of measurement

Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:

  • Comparing and ordering objects by length
  • Sorting, classifying and ordering objects by size, number and other properties

Show Me Your Shoe

Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

Step 1: Gather materials.

  • Shoes
  • Paper
  • Markers
  • Tape measure

Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

Step 2: Introduce activity.

  1. Say: “Put your feet out in front of you, so that everyone in the circle can see the bottoms of your shoes.”
  2. Ask: “Who do you think has the longest shoe? Who do you think has the shortest shoe?”
  3. Say: “We are going to see who has a longer shoe.”

Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

  1. Ask two children come to the front of the circle. Try to choose two children with obviously different shoe sizes.
  2. Ask: “Who do you think is going to have the longer shoe?”
  3. Tell the children to put their feet side by side.
  4. Ask the children if they can tell which shoe is longer and which is shorter.
  5. Using blank paper, trace around each child’s shoe. Hold up the tracing and ask: “Which one is longer? Which is shorter?”
  6. Tell the children to compare the two tracings and ask them to point to the one that is longer.
  7. Continue to pair up the children to compare their shoe lengths until all of the children have had their turn.

Step 4: Vocabulary.

  • Long, Longer, Longest: Comparison words for length
  • Short, Shorter, Shortest: Comparison words for length
  • Compare: To view at least two things and identify the similarities and differences

Early Math Glossary

Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
Toddlers may:
  • Watch as you measure their shoes
  • Listen as you compare the lengths
  • Decorate their shoe tracings
  • Help you hang the tracings on the wall
Child care providers may:
  • Use the vocabulary terms “longer” and “shorter” when describing the child’s shoes
  • Show the children the shoes side by side and point out which one is the longest and which one is the shortest
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
Preschoolers may:
  • Make comparisons
  • Measure their shoes
  • Use a tape measure to compare lengths of shoes
Child care providers may:
  • Write the measurements down on a piece of paper or on a white board or chalk board
  • Help the children graph the shoe patterns on the wall by hanging the shoes from the shortest to the longest
  • Use the vocabulary terms “shortest” and “longest”

Suggested Books

  • The Best Bug Parade by Stuart Murphy (New York: Harper Trophy, 1996)
  • The Giant Cabbage: An Alaskan Folktale by Cherie Stihler (Seattle: Sasquatch, 2003)

Music and Movement

Finger play: Little, Bigger, Biggest

A little ball, (Make ball with your finger and thumb.)
A bigger ball, (Make ball with your two hands.)
And a great big ball I see. (Make a big ball shape with your arms.)
Now help me count them,
One, two, three! (Repeat gestures for each size.)


  • Use cutout paper shapes or real objects to show the three sizes.
  • Create additional verses with other shapes of different sizes.

Outdoor Connections

Go for a walk and pick up sticks. Identify who found the shortest stick and who found the longest stick.

Web Resources

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