Does your child enjoy measuring his
height to find out how much he has grown? Or perhaps he likes to
stand back to back with a sibling or friend to see who is taller?
These are great early experiences with measurement. You can help your
child learn more about measurement by measuring things around the
house, or comparing two objects to see which is taller, shorter, or
Before kids learn to use standard
tools, such as a ruler, to measure length and height, it is helpful
to introduce them to nonstandard measuring tools. These can be
anything from their own feet and hands to pencils, pennies, or a
length of string. You can measure with anything as long as you use
the same unit of measure. Kids quickly learn the value of standard
measuring tools when they see that when you measure with nonstandard
tools the results are not always the same.
3-6 year olds
Go on a Length Hunt
Take It Further
Walk around your
home, and talk with your child about how things come in different
sizes. For example, point to a book and ask your child questions such
as Can you find another book that is
smaller than this
one?; Can you find one that is
bigger?; How about the
You can do this activity with other items as well, such
as pieces of furniture, cups, boxes of cereal, canned goods, etc.
- Yarn, string, ribbon, or strips of paper
- Things around the house to measure
How to Do It:
- Cut a piece of
string into five different lengths, none longer than a foot. You can
also use yarn, ribbon, or strips of paper.
- Put the pieces
of string into a paper bag or other container.
- First show your
child how to do the activity by reaching into the bag and choosing
one of the pieces of string.
- Ask your child
to help you look around the house and find something that is about
the same size as the string. When you find something, hold the piece
of string up to it. Ask your child, “Is it the same size as
the string?” If it isn’t, ask him, “Is it shorter
or longer than the piece of string?”
- Once your child
understands how to do the activity, let him choose a piece of string
and identify an object to measure. When he measures the object, be
sure he places one end of the string exactly at the end of the
object before extending it to the other side of the object.
Get three of the
items that your child just measured with the string, and put them
next to each other on a table. Ask your child to put them in order
from smallest to biggest. Which item is biggest? Which is smallest?
Play the Welcome to Beaver City game on PBS KIDS
Big Dog... Little Dog by P. D. Eastman; illustrated by Peter Anthony Eastman
Inch by Inch by Leo Leonni