Fun With Measuring
You will need:
• Paper or card
• Crayons and or felt tipped pens
• Things to measure
• Create a set of measuring hands for measuring how long, how wide, how tall and how short things are at home.
• These non-standard units of measure help children understand the concept of using units to measure items.
• Draw round hands, then cut them out and decorate with crayons, felt tipped pens or stickers.
• Number each hand, then start measuring.
• Count how many hands wide, long and tall items or people are.
• Record these results and compare them to find out which is the shortest, longest, widest and tallest.
How this activity helps develop early maths learning
Children typically progress through a series of stages in understanding measurement (Copley, 2000):
1 Comprehending that objects can be compared and measured and understanding the meaning of questions like “how long is this?”, “how heavy is that?” etc.
2 Making comparisons themselves, such as judging which pencil is shorter, which pebble is heavier, etc.
3 Determining an appropriate unit and process for measurement.
4 Using standard units of measurement (centimetre, grammes, etc.).
5 Creating and using formulas to help count units.
During the preschool and reception class years, children primarily focus on stages 1 and 2 and may begin to work on the concept of “unit” in the third step. Steps four and five are typically focused on in the primary school years.
Copley, J. V. (2000). The Young Child and Mathematics. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.