Little students often explore their surroundings through objects around them and occasionally by comparing them with one another. These fundamental notions may not be adequate to give out appropriate inferences later. Ability to make measurements may fill up the gap here. For this reason, concepts like the measurement of entities are preached in early school.
Evidently, activities can be an eminent pick along with classroom pedagogies. In concepts like measuring, pragmatic learning may be further befitting. Accordingly, here we dig deeper into fabricating some enticing measurement activities that every little learner can employ now.
Learning measurements in kindergarten: Why begin early?
Measurements are an essential skill that assists us throughout life. Therefore, gaining an early insight and understanding the concepts becomes critical. We measure teaspoons, bowls, and cups while cooking. While traveling, we measure and deduce an estimate of distance or travel time. At the gas station, we keep track of the fuel required. These instances depict how knowledge of measurements turns vital. Younger children in kindergarten can begin with exposure to the various units, while older children can use ruler graphs and analyze the data obtained.
Getting them started
Children may start off to understand how to measure objects and liquids. At the kindergarten level, measurements can be introduced with non-standard objects, and gradually, in higher grades, standard units can be introduced.
Usage of non-standard objects involves using hands, feet, cups, pens, and other objects of daily use. Once the children are familiar with number recognition, it is easier to introduce them to the measurement concept which is further useful in calculating surface area and volumes.
Some interesting and fun activities can be used to make math and its various concepts simpler to understand and learn.
Interactive & engaging measurement activities for kindergarteners
1. How many pencils tall are you?
This activity introduces height to the children using pencils, a stationery item found very easily at home or school. This activity can be carried out in school. Moreover, it can be a great group activity that enhances the learning experience.
A child is made to lay down on the playmat or the floor. The children then arrange pencils vertically along with the height of the child. Next, the teacher helps them count the pencils and notes them down along the child’s name. The activity is repeated with every child.
This activity helps to determine the length or rather the height of each child. The child counts the number of pencils and now knows the height. Next, the heights of all the children are compared. The teacher could now explain who is the tallest and the shortest.
Through this activity, the concept of height is clarified as also comparing quantities.
2. Make your own measuring tape
The children do this activity under the guidance of an adult. It can be performed either at school or at home. Cut many strips of paper, broad enough to bear the imprint of the child’s foot. Stick the lower edge of one to the upper edge of the other to make the long strip or tape..
Now have the child make footprints by dipping the foot in paints of different colors, one below the other, along the length of the tape. Each footprint serves as the measuring unit. The child can now measure the objects with this tape with respect to how many footprints, long or wide they are.
The children are initiated into the concept of using a tape, a standard measure object, through this activity. They learn to place the tape correctly and to measure objects. This will enable them to use a measuring tape or a ruler in later stages with ease.
3. Heavy and light
Before teaching the children the actual measuring units, helping them understand heavy and light will make learning easier. An effortless activity with daily use items around us can simplify the idea. Activity is suitable for school and home.
Attach two paper cups, such that there is one on each end, to a coat hanger. The cups can be fixed with the help of strings. Hang it on a wall peg or a door handle where one can balance it. It should have no restriction in movement. Now one by one, put two different items in each cup.
Observe which goes down. Explain to the child about heavy and light. Subsequently, different numbers of objects can be put into cups to compare weights.
The children understand which object is heavier or lighter through this activity. They also get a clear idea about how weights are used. Once the concepts of comparison are clear, it gets easier to understand measuring weights too.
4. Area of boxes using sticky notes
A unique activity to teach the child about areas. This is an activity that can be successfully carried out either in school or at home. Shoe boxes of various sizes or any boxes and a bunch of sticky notes can be used to teach the children about measuring areas.
The boxes are all arranged. The teacher or the supervising adult guides the children to paste the sticky notes on the base of the box, such that there is no overlap. The number of sticky notes used in each box is counted. That gives the area of the box. For example, box 1 has an area of 4 sticky notes.
Here the children are familiarised with areas and how to measure them. The child understands the concept of areas. This activity also helps the child to get an idea of how the areas of larger spaces are measured like rooms or halls. Areas of different boxes are compared. The boxes where more notes are used are larger in area.
5. Length of a shelf using building blocks
Measuring the length of a shelf by using colorful building blocks is an interesting way to teach measurement of length. It is an activity that can be conducted anywhere.
The teacher or an adult helps the children to arrange building blocks along a shelf or a cupboard by placing them on the floor, one behind the other. The children then count how many blocks long the shelf is. Also, it is possible to measure height by stacking the blocks, which is a common activity. To make the activity more interesting, they can also compare the length with the breadth.
The units of length or height can be introduced through this activity. The children learn to place blocks as unit measures for the same.
6. Measuring capacity using potatoes
Comparing the capacity of baskets using potatoes or any other fruit or vegetables can be taught both at home or school. This is done with very easily available food items.
Baskets of different sizes are arranged in a row. The children are instructed to fill each basket with the same object. For example, all baskets must contain either potatoes or apples. The baskets are compared. The number of potatoes in each is noted down. The basket that can hold more potatoes is the one with a larger capacity.
This activity helps the child to visualize the concept of capacity or volume. The child tries to understand how much a container holds can be measured. A similar activity can be carried out with balls in the basket too.
7. Draw a bigger object from the box
This activity is suitable for the introduction to concepts of size and measurements. A mug or a small can is placed outside a carton filled with random objects like pencils, boxes, building blocks, books. Then, the teacher calls out to each child to draw one thing from the box that is either bigger or smaller than the reference object, whatever she specifies.
The child digs into the box and draws out the relevant object. The activity is repeated with each child.
Through this fun activity, children learn to compare sizes and quantities. It helps to gauge which could be a smaller or a larger object. When conducted in a group, they also get an opportunity to learn from others’ choices.
8. Handprinting on paper
Children love painting and getting their hands all messy in the process. This can be used to teach them the area of papers. Two newspapers or cardstock of different sizes are given to the child. The teacher or the adult instructs the child to make handprints on it using paints, such that there is no overlap of prints. The teacher helps the child to count the patterns on each paper. The paper with more number prints has the greater area.
Children enjoy making these printed papers. They learn to understand the size of different papers. This activity can also be conducted with printing using sliced okra or potatoes with patterns etched on them. Counting the number of prints that on paper can accommodate helps them judge the area of the paper.
9. Scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunt is a favorite game among children irrespective of whether it is played indoors or outdoors. It has been modified to teach various concepts in different subjects. Among older children, scavenger hunt can be played to familiarise the children even with parts of speech.
A reference object is shown to the children each time. The children are asked to hunt for objects bigger or smaller than reference objects. For example,’ look for something bigger than your hand’ or look for something ‘smaller than your shoe.’ This sets off the excitement, and the children use their judgment to source an object from their surroundings.
Comparison of objects and their sizes are discovered through the activity. The children learn to assess the areas of length, breadth, and capacity of objects.
10. Measuring the shoe size with a string.
This is an activity that the teacher or an adult helps the child with. The child is helped to compare the shoe sizes of different people by pulling a roll of string alongside it. The length of string for each is cut and compared.
The least length of string signifies the smallest shoe size.
Children learn that shoes have sizes too. The concept of shoe sizing can be introduced. Also interesting to know would be why length or height is often measured in feet. Through one activity, the child learns many aspects of measurement.
Learning to measure is imperative in our life. The earlier the children are introduced to it the better as they can gain adequate experience to figure it out independently. Counting, identifying numbers, and comparing quantities are the basics of math. Having a good insight into it will equip the child with more skills and give that boost of confidence. There is always a fear of math amongst older children. A perfection in basics will help them overcome their fear and make math learning easier and more enjoyable.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,