Teaching Customary Measurement: Capacity

How many of us as adults can easily remember how many cups are in a pint? What about how many pints in a gallon? Most of us have a hard time remembering the different measurements involved in measuring capacity. So how can we help our children remember these same facts? Here are some fun ways to introduce and review the customary measurements for capacity.

Find Household Objects

Start learning about capacity by going on a scavenger hunt for household items in the various capacity sizes. Many liquid kitchen items are labeled with gallons, quarts, pints, or cups. However some of those items may be labeled with fluid ounces. You can still use these for your scavenger hunt if you remember that 8 fluid ounces equals 1 cup. Therefore 16 ounces is a pint, 32 ounces is a quart, and 128 ounces is a gallon. Let your child set the items he finds on your counter or table. Then let him compare the objects by sorting them into size order, answering questions about which items are largest, and discussing how many of one item he thinks could fit into a larger item.

Hands On Capacity Measuring

If you have time before you starting learning capacity, wash out and save some containers in different sizes. You can then give your child a bucket of water, a measuring cup, and the containers to work with. This is a great way to let your child figure out on his own how many cups are in a pint, how many pints are in a quart, and so on. This activity might get a little messy though so you may want to take this outside. Of course, you could always just put the bucket of water in a dry bathtub, and let your child sit in the tub while he experiments.

Practice Exact Measuring

An easy and fun way to emphasize the need for exact measurements is by letting your child help you bake. Most cookie recipes call for measurements like a cup of sugar or a tablespoon of vanilla. Let your child measure the needed ingredients and pour them into the mixing bowl. Not only will this help your child see that it is important to measure carefully, but it will also introduce them to the smaller measurements of tablespoon and teaspoon.

The more fun activities we use when teaching capacity, the more likely your child is to remember the measurements. You can also find some interesting ways to teach measurements of length in the previous post. Visit our after school blog for more fun activities Do you let your child experiment with different measuring tools?

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