Math Helping Your Six-Year-Old Understand Measurement and Data

The world is filled with ways to measure: length, height, weight, capacity, money, temperature and time…to name just a few. At age six, children are often ready to move beyond basic ideas of measurement ("this block tower is taller than this one") and begin making measurements using numbers ("the table is as tall as eight pencils"). Measurement and data collection are important in science, art, cooking, sports and engineering — so there are plenty of ways to help your child learn at home!

Learning measurement through play:

Count Down to an Event

At this age, your child might be ready to start exploring measuring time on a calendar. Find an upcoming event happening this month and practice counting the numbers and days until that event. Counting by sevens can be challenging, but they can do it!

Croc Hatch!

In this game, your child can learn about temperatures while pretending to be a Momma Croc! Help regulate nest temperatures to ensure the specific gender of the young hatchling.

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Make a Graph

Graphs are a fun way to visualize data. The National Center for Education Statistics has a great website that kids can use to enter information and create five different types of graphs and charts. Think about what information your child can collect and graph. How many shoes, shirts and pants do they have? What is the number of forks versus spoons versus knives in the utensil drawer? Graphing is a multistep activity: find a topic, collect data, sort data and make a visual depiction of that data, like a bar graph.

Hat Grab

Creating colorful pictograms is a great way to introduce your child to graphing. In this game your child can help Curious George select certain color hats for a graph.

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Guessing Game: Nonstandard Units of Measurement

A great way to explore length and height is through nonstandard units of measurement. You can do this with any basic object that comes in a consistent size, such as drinking straws, paper clips, Popsicle sticks, Lego blocks or even gummy worms! Go around your home measuring how long or tall things are using one of these "units of measurement." For example, a chair might be eight straws tall, or 40 paper clips tall. Take notes. After they get the hang of it, see if they can make predictions before measuring.

Cat Measuring Tool

Your child can learn about length and measurement as she uses Cat as a measuring tool to measure the length of various objects at home.

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Talk About the Weather

Talk about hot and cold weather with your child. Discuss what kinds of clothing you wear and what kinds of activities you do in each weather condition. Use a local weather chart to talk about how weather is measured — temperature, precipitation, wind, humidity. See if you can find patterns or make a prediction for next week’s weather. If you have an outdoor thermometer, explain how to read it. Have your child check the temperature at different times of day and different times of the year. Compare the temperature inside (using your thermostat) versus the temperature outside. Add some geography to the mix: use weather apps to compare temperatures in different parts of the world.

Weather Surprise

In this matching game, your child can learn about outside environments and temperatures by helping put plants, animals, and people in the right outside location.

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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 Six-Year-Old

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