Math Helping Your Eight-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 eight, 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:

Teach Measurement Through Baking

The kitchen is a great place to explore how we use measurements in real life. Have your child help you follow a recipe to measure exact amounts of the ingredients. Review the different units of measurement for baking, including cups, teaspoons and tablespoons.

Peg and Cat's Incredibly Popular Honey Cake

Yum… honey cake. Try three different sweet recipes while helping your child learn about patterns, standard measurements, and shapes.

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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.

Prankster Planet: Reverse-a-ball

The Electric Company needs to stop Francine from reversing all the words on Earth. Your child can help save the words by practicing using and creating graphs to represent information.

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Measure the Room

At this age, your child might be ready for a big measurement challenge. Introduce him to a tape measure. Show how you can use this tool to measure really big things. Then challenge him to measure the floor of a small room. How many feet and inches is it? If your child enjoys this challenge, have him measure the floor plan of your entire home! 

Slider's Glider

Let's fly! In this activity, your child can develop critical thinking, measurement, and mental flexibility skills while designing the optimal flying glider.

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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.

Talk About the Weather

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.

How Windy Is It?

In this activity, your child can develop math and science skills by building a wind gauge and measuring the wind in your neighborhood.

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Create a Meal Budget

A great way to share real-world math with your child is to include them in meal planning. Using a budget, have your child help you plan to make a favorite meal. Create a shopping list together and have them write down prices (rounded to the nearest dollar) as you pick up each item in the store. Is the total amount within your budget?

Fresh Pick Mini Games

In this collection of mini games, your child will learn to navigate spaces, use spatial clues to locate items, add and subtract to meet a budget, and sort items based on multiple attributes.

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Help Your Child Learn to Love Math with Odd Squad

Odd Squad focuses on a kid-run agency that saves the day whenever something unusual happens. Emphasizing problem solving, teamwork and perseverance in every strange and hilarious new assignment, agents use math to investigate weird problems -- and your child can help!

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Activity Finder: Learn With Your Eight-Year-Old

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