Series: Book Ideas

Matching and Concepts of Same and Different… with Socks!

Does a polka-dotted sock match a striped sock? In A Pair of Socks young children will learn about matching, an important early math skill, as a lonely striped sock searches the house for its mate.

In this book written by Stuart Murphy and illustrated by Lois Ehlert, children are introduced to the important concept of same and different. On each page, the sock finds a possible match in various places around the house. The book ends with a two-page spread of all the socks shown in the book, and children are invited to find all the matching pairs. The brightly colored pictures make it easy for children to see the patterns and colors of each sock.

In the book we find many opportunities to find math around the home. Invite children to help find pairs of socks when they are putting away their clean clothes. Classify clean clothing in groups by separating shirts, pants, and underwear into piles. By doing this they are defining groups: These are the pajamas, these are the shirts, these are the pants. Then separate the clothes by creating the clothes that belong to each member of the family. These are dad’s clothes, baby’s clothes, big brother’s clothes. And what about clean clothes versus dirty clothes? Whites and colored clothes? There are many ways to sort laundry, depending on the task at hand.

There isn’t a location or chore around the house that doesn’t allow for discussion around matching, sets, and sorting.

Think of all the times sorting and classifying can take place at different times and in different seasons. In the summer, organize swimming gear and outdoor toys. In the winter, organize the family’s gloves or mittens in pairs for easy finding and to prevent them from getting lost throughout the house.

And don’t stop there. After you wash the silverware, ask children to help you put them away in the drawer, making sure that they are all in their proper place with other matching silverware. There isn’t a location or chore around the house that doesn’t allow for discussion around matching, sets, and sorting.