Parts of the Whole

A big bush outside of day care

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to demonstrate flexibility in thoughts, actions, and behavior.

Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard or construction paper
  • Scissors

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction, and 2 or more participants/players.


(See photo examples on page 2 of the PDF)

  1. Cut a shape out of the cardboard or construction paper.
  2. Go on a walk with your child either outside or around the house.
  3. Stop and take notice of a whole object, such as a tree, the side of a house or building, a car, a fence, etc. Then place the cardboard template up to the object. and notice how the view changes when looking at small parts at a time.
  4. Discuss and ask your child open-ended questions on what they notice and feel when comparing the whole picture with small pieces.
Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
A big bush outside of day care