Customary Measurement: Length

Have you ever wondered how to introduce the units of length, weight, capacity, and temperature without just making your child memorize the customary measurements? These concepts can be fun and to learn. In this series, we will share some interesting ways to introduce and practice common measurement skills. Teaching length tends to be fun anyway because children enjoy using a ruler, but you can make it even more exciting by using household items and playing a simple game to practice measuring.  Teaching customary measurement: length can help your children learn this important skill for life.

Compare Objects

One of the most basic ways to start a conversation about measurements of length with your child is by comparing two or more objects. Choose two similar objects in your home such as two books or two candles. Ask your child simple questions about the length of the objects. You could ask which candle is shorter or which is longer. Or you could ask which book is taller.  If your child finds those questions easy, move on to three or four objects. Have your child put the objects in order from shortest to tallest or vice versa.

Practice with a Ruler

Buy a cheap ruler and let your child keep it. Start by showing them how to measure to the nearest inch. They will have fun wandering around your house measuring the length of different objects. Let them measure their toys, books, and furniture. As they come across larger items to measure, you can introduce the concept of 12 inches being the same as 1 foot. The more things they measure, the more practice they are getting. If they master the concept of measuring to the nearest inch, move on to measure to the half inch, then quarter inch.

Have Fun with Estimating Length

Another fun activity is to ask your child to guess how long they think an object is before they measure it. At first, their guesses may be very far away from the real length, but over time, their estimates will improve. Not only is estimation an important skill for children to learn, but this will also give them more practice in actually measuring. After a few practice guesses, you can even turn this into a game. Tell your child that if their estimate is within a certain amount (maybe 1 or 2 inches at first), then they get a point. If they are too far off, you get a point. Keep score with tally marks on a piece of paper to see who wins the most points.

So when you are ready to teach customary measurement, let your child get up and wander around. Let them carry around their ruler and measure things. They’ll have fun and be learning at the same time. What fun strategies do you use when talking about measuring length?

Photo by: artsnsociety

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