Measuring activities are a fun way to get your preschooler excited about math. Comparing items help them process the world around them. This collection will give you plenty of ideas to introduce both standard and non-standard methods for measuring and comparing and use those tools to compare items.
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Measurement Activities for Preschoolers
First, let’s see what standard and non standard measuring tools are.
Standard Measuring Tools
Standard measuring tools are things we usually use to measure with:
- tape measures
- measuring cups
- measuring spoons
- bathroom scale
- balancing scales
Non Standard Units of Measurement Tools
Non-standard tools are basically anything you can use to measure with. Examples would be:
- pretzel sticks
- linking cubes
- bear counters
- paper clips linked together
- toy cars
- popsicle sticks
Encourage your child to measure a variety of things using both standard and non standard measuring tools. Some tools work better for measuring certain items than others. Help your child experiment to see which tool to use.
Comparing Activities for Preschoolers
Once your child has an idea of the size they can start comparing items. You can compare items from virtually anywhere – everyday items from around the house or things outside.
- You can even compare things your child would have to use their imagination for ( because they couldn’t actually measure them for themselves.) For instance: A tiger and a cat, which is heavy and which is light? Which is taller an ostrich or a giraffe?
- Some of these words may be new vocabulary for your child so you may need to demonstrate the concept first, for instance when something is empty and when it’s full.
Comparing 2 Things
- big/ little
- more/ less/some
- empty/ full
- in front of/ behind
- heavy / light
Comparing 3 Things
- big/ bigger/ biggest
- short/ shorter/ shortest
- heavy/ heavier/ heaviest
Measuring Weight Activities
- Use a bucket balance made for kids.
- They can compare solids and liquids.
- If you use something like the bear counters mentioned above, your child can count a specific number of bears and actually see why one is more than the other, just be sure to use the same sizes. For instance, 5 small bears weigh more than 2 small bears. How do you know? The scale went down lower on the side with the 5 bears.
- Take this a step further and let them discover if different color Bear Counters make a difference in which is heavier.
- Point out items around the house and ask your child if it’s heavy or light. For this activity, they can define light as something they can pick up, and heavy is something they can’t pick up.
- Pick two items and ask which item is heavier (or which is lighter).
- Print up the activities below and have your child sort cards into groups.
Measuring Length Activities for Preschoolers
- Measure how tall your child is and let them see how much they grow over the years.
- Measure them with blocks. Have them lay on the floor and line the blocks alongside them. Have them count them.
- See how far they can jump.
Preschool Measurement Books
Here are some wonderful picture books with measuring concepts you can share with your child.
- Balancing Act by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- Inch by Inch Leo Lionni
- It’s Not Easy Being Big by Stephanie St. Pierre
- The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, And The Big Hungry Bear by Audrey Wood
- Big Bear Small Mouse by Karma Wilson
Be sure to check out more Preschool Math Activities: