If necessity is the mother of inventions, then estimation is the foundation of that necessity. Without estimating, we humans may not function fully in our everyday lives as we do, especially when it comes to using math in daily chores. And perhaps, a substantially crucial thing a child can learn is how to estimate.
Having numerous instances where they can be used in various arenas of life, from going to the store to buy a gallon of milk to estimating its cost, estimation is one concept that can come in handy throughout life.
Luckily, there are several estimation activities that parents and teachers can use to help children develop this important skill. This skill will help them in every aspect of their lives, from budgeting their allowance to predicting how long it will take them to clean their room.
Estimation for kids: How crucial?
Estimation is the process of finding an approximate value for something. When we estimate, we don’t need to know the exact value, but we should be able to get close to it. This is one concept that has various real-life uses too.
- When you are getting your house whitewashed, an estimate of the paint needed is required so that you can understand how much material you need to cover the wall.
- While going to a grocery store, when you have a budget of only $50 for groceries, you need a good estimation skill to pick out a grocery that fits the budget.
- When hosting a dinner party for a large group of people, ingredients must be added as per estimation. For example, if one potato is enough for 2 people, an estimate of 10 must be taken for about 20 people. This can come into use while deciding how many bottles of soft drink one needs, how many snacks, and much more.
- While traveling somewhere and reaching a destination, especially when we have someone waiting for us, we often give them an estimated time. For example, I’m starting now, the traffic looks clear, I should reach in about 15 minutes. This time of 15 minutes is what a person gives out of estimation.
- When salaried adults need to make ends meet, they often allocate budgets as per their estimated needs and their salary. For example, an estimate of $100 is allocated for transport, $200 for housing, $100 for groceries, and so on.
These are some daily life examples that can help students understand how ‘judging a value,’ also known as an estimation, can be used in daily life. Therefore, discussing this further, in this post, we will learn about activities for kids to help them practice this important skill at a-go. Take a look.
Fun estimation activities for little learners
1. M&Ms in a jar
This activity about estimation is helpful to kids in learning estimation because it allows them to practice estimating the amount of a given object. To play this game, you will need a jar of M&Ms. The goal is to estimate how many M&Ms are in the jar. The person who comes the closest to the actual number wins. You can try estimating how many M&Ms are in multiple jars to make it a little more challenging. Again, the person with the closest total estimate wins.
Allowing students to practice estimation through the amount of a given object, this activity also helps them to understand the concept of estimation and how it can be used in real-life situations.
2. Draw the how many
For this activity, students can be guided to draw an object or a creature of their choice. When drawing, the teachers must not tell the students to count how many of these creatures they are making. To ensure they don’t count while they draw, the teachers can set a time limit of 2 minutes and ask the students to draw as many objects as they can in the given time limit.
Now, the teachers can ask the students to stop drawing once the time limit is over. The next step would be to ask a surprise question to any random student: How many objects have you drawn? Can you estimate?
They can be given 5 seconds to estimate their answer and write the figure on the top of their sketch sheet. The one closest to their answer wins. To make this activity even more interesting, sheets of students can be interchanged so that they have no idea what the perfect figure of objects there are.
This activity aims to add value to number sense skills alongside their estimation power. Such activities help in making them independent of their choices and let them have a clear, concise of what and how much they may need something.
3. Estimate volumes
This activity concerns a transparent jar filled with any colorful liquid. Now one by one, kids need to come and use a cup (only once) to estimate the total quantity of the liquid. Once done, they’ll have to write their answer on the sheet in front of them. For example, this jar is filled with 5 cups of water. The one closest to the correct answer wins! This way, different size cups can be given, and ask them how their answer differs for every cup.
This activity is helpful to kids in learning estimation because it forces them to think about the relationship between the size of the object and the quantity of the liquid. For example, a small cup might hold 1/5 of a liter, while a large one might hold 2 liters. To estimate correctly, kids need to understand these relationships. This activity also teaches kids about measurement units such as liters and milliliters.
4. Jump me a rope
This could be a fun and playful activity for kids to learn estimation. To host this activity, take the class to the field area. The students can be divided into two groups, one would be the estimation group, and one would be the group that counts the number of jumps. However, when asking Team B, the team who counts the jumps, the teacher must be discreet and they should not tell the student who is jumping that they have to count the number of their jumps.
For each jumper, there should be one student who would be counting the number of jumps, however, this also should be done discreetly. As the timer begins, the students begin jumping. When the timer stops, the students can be asked the surprise question: Can you estimate how many times did you jump in a minute? These answers can be cross-examined by the Team B participants who have been counting the number of jumps.
After the activity, kids would be told if their estimation was right or not. The one with the closest or the most accurate answer wins the game. This will help them understand how to estimate better. This activity is helpful in learning estimation because it allows kids to practice estimating how long it will take to complete a task. They can also use the activity to estimate how many jumps they can do in a certain amount of time. This is a valuable skill that can be applied to many real-life situations.
5. Wrap a gift
Wrap a gift is an activity that helps kids learn estimation through craft and art. To play, you will need a gift, wrapping paper, a ribbon, and tape. To start with, ask the kids to measure the gift using wrapping paper. Next, help them cut the paper to the appropriate size and tape it around the gift. Kid(s) can do this at home with their parents or elder siblings as well. Finally, ask them to estimate how much ribbon they will need to wrap around the gift and cut it to the appropriate size. This activity is helpful in teaching kids estimation because they have to measure the gift and then estimate how much wrapping paper and ribbon they will need. It also helps them practice and sharpen their craft skills.
6. Wordy Crazy
In this activity, teachers need to write a wordy sentence of 3-4 lines on the board. Once the teacher is done writing the sentence, kids need to estimate the total number of words used in that sentence. They can write their estimated answer on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. The one closest to the correct answer gets applauded. The same activity can be used for estimating spelling words also. Teachers can write a word that includes many alphabets in it. For example, Difficulty, Prepositions, Communication, etc.
This is very basic but a fun activity to help students learn the value of estimation and explains why writing shorter and crisper sentences using punctuations in the right place is important. Wordy crazy is an ideal culminated activity of English and math, helping students ace language and estimation skills in a fun and interactive way.
7. Block my way
Block my way is a very easy activity to host. For this kids must have an object in front of them and some colorful square blocks. All they need to do is estimate how many blocks will they need to determine the length of that object.
This easy to indulge-in activity can be done both at home and at school. Block my way teaches students in determining the size of an object. When put in real-life, this can be implemented on the size of a room, the size of a plot, the depth of a swimming pool, etc. It lets them understand the concept of estimation and use it in practical scenarios.
8. My hand full of snacks
This fun and yum activity will require some mouthful treats. One can begin by asking the one-one student to approach the teacher’s desk and put their hand inside the jar filled with snacks. These snacks could be candies, berries, biscuits, etc. Next, ask the kids to keep their fists tight and guess a number of the estimated snacks they picked. Once estimated, you can ask the student to count their collected snack and know their answer. This activity can create a lot of fun and laughter in the classroom.
It is not only a great way to have some fun but also develop one’s mathematical skills like estimation, counting, etc. This activity can be played among friends, family, or any small group.
Estimation is an important skill that kids need to learn. And with these fun estimation activities, they can practice while having fun!
Estimation is an important skill that kids need to learn. And with these fun estimation activities, they can practice while having fun! These activities will help them develop their skills and confidence in estimation, which will be invaluable as they grow up and face the real world. However, when teaching estimation, teachers should also focus on accuracy as it is the accuracy that matters more. Nonetheless, accuracy too can come only with good estimation skills that can be easily inculcated through these fun activities.