Math Helping Your Four-Year-Old Understand Measurement and Sorting

The world is filled with ways to measure: length, height, weight, capacity, money, temperature and time…to name just a few! Your child's understanding of measurement begins with vocabulary development at age four. You can help by using mathematical terms to describe amounts and sizes — for example, saying “tall” or “long” instead of “big.” Simple measuring and sorting activities lay the groundwork for later learning and are easy to incorporate into your daily routines. Don't be surprised if soon your child wants to measure everything around them!

Easy ways to talk about measurement:

Sort Laundry

Believe it or not, your child is not too young to help out with some chores around the house! Incorporate a little math learning while sorting laundry. You can start by having him match up socks or put all the towels in one pile. When he’s ready, have him help you by naming which article of clothing belongs to whom. All of this involves the important skills of classification and sorting.

Oscar's Trash Collection

Oscar needs help sorting his trash. Your child can help Oscar by sorting the trash onto shelves according to shape, color or pattern.

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Create a Growth Chart

Children love to see how tall they've grown. Mark your child's height on a wall or growth chart. Repeat this every few months and note how much taller they are. Compare their height to the height of siblings or other family members. 

Sharpen Measuring Skills by Playing Jump, Jump, Measure!

Using blocks as an informal measuring tool, play a jumping game that also reinforces the math skill of measurement. How far can your child can move in one jump?

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Explore Math Through Nature

At the park or during a nature walk, let children collect items that catch their attention, such as twigs, pebbles and leaves. Then sort them into piles by type, counting together as you do. Be sure to explain which objects should be left alone, such as poisonous plants and small animals or insects.

Grow Sprouts from Dried Beans

Growing plants can help your child see day-to-day progress of living things growing. Try this activity to sprout beans and then plant them in a garden or window pot.

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Talk About Morning, Afternoon and Night

Your child is just starting to get a sense of measuring time. Discuss what kinds of activities you do during these times. Have them help you make a picture chart of morning and bedtime routines. Having the pictures to refer to might even make bedtime go a little bit easier once they understand that it will start all over again tomorrow!

Morning Badges

Your child can become "Master of the Morning" by coloring and earning these morning routine reward badges.

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Practice Measuring and Capacity at Bath Time

Bring different-size plastic cups or containers into the bathtub to experiment with capacity. Discuss which container holds the most water and which holds the least. Use the smallest container to count how many times you need to dump water into the larger container to fill it up.

Dino Dive

In this Dinosaur Train game, your child can learn about displacement and volume. Help your child find the right types of dinosaurs to raise the water level of the swimming hole to the right number!

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Help Your Child Learn to Love Math with Peg + Cat

Through engaging stories and comedy, Peg + Cat encourages your child to see math as exciting, accessible, and fun. The show teaches measurement, shapes and patterns, and problem-solving skills that children can use in their everyday lives.

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Four-Year-Old

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