Part to Whole Relationships

Part to Whole Relationships

Pretty much everything in the world is made up of smaller bits.  So for every WHOLE, it has a number of PARTS.  This relationship can be very helpful when teaching your child to new vocabulary.  For example, a tree is not JUST a tree.  A tree has branches, a trunk, bark, twigs, leaves, roots, etc.  So when you are teaching your child vocabulary, consider not just labelling the items, but pointing out and naming the parts of that item as well.


To give their grammar a boost, you could say, for example, “There’s your chair.  It has legs (point), and arm rests (point), a seat (point), and a back (point).  Look!  I found the seat of the chair!  And here is the leg of the chair!”

  • Arts and crafts are a GREAT way of teaching part to whole relationships.  If you can BUILD an item, then you can understand its parts much better.
  • Go on a nature walk and collect bits of a tree, then use it to paste together a new tree.  Maybe you found pine needles and pine cones?  So you can make a pine tree!
  • Use Legos to create a house with a floor, walls, windows, roof, etc.  You can even make the individual rooms.
  • Mr. Potato head is a part to whole relationship game in itself!  This game creates the perfect opportunity for using more advanced grammar:  “Can you find the NOSE of the potato?” (I bet you never thought you’d say that!)
  • The child’s game Cootie (which can be found on Amazon.com) has a built in part to whole relationship aspect to the game.  Take turns creating a ‘cootie’ by building its body, head, antennae, tongue and legs.
  • Craft sticks are getting easier and easier to find.  In Dublin, Mr. Price has them by the bagful.  You can create anything with craft sticks!  A table a chairs for your toy soldiers?  A boat for your Barbie?  And everything you make is made up of parts to name!

Get your child cooking with you!  Is it big sister’s birthday?  Well, there’s the icing on the cake, the layers of the cake, the candles on the cake, the sprinkles on the cake…


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If you have any questions about any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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