We just did a unit on measurement in
our classroom. The kids had a ball measuring everything in the room. It was
fun to watch their enthusiasm.
We started by
using non-traditional ways to measure: finding out how many paper clips long
the tops of the table was, or how many blocks long a book was, or how many
crayons it took to go from one wall to another.
This is the type of activity that can easily be done
around the house and supervised by parents. In the beginning, donít worry
about units such as inches or meters; just let the kids use what you have on
In the process, you will also help your child to
understand concepts of comparisons. Children can begin to comprehend, with
your help, the meaning of more, less, and equal when they compare two items or
The kitchen is a natural place for working on
measuring together. Starting with pre-schoolers, use the assortment of cups
and spoons that you have on hand. Itís a way to familiarize children with
The most common items to be measured will probably
be flour and water. By all means, use the terminology of measurement as a way
to familiarize the children with it: cup, pint, liter, quart, teaspoon,
tablespoon, gallon. This will begin the understanding of these concepts for
Asking for two cups of flour or three tablespoons of
oil will involve the child in preparing food for the family, giving a sense of
contribution in addition to concrete knowledge about measuring.
Another possible by-product of doing this work
together can be the understanding of the concept that the role of the cook is
not sex-specific: boys can do it as well as girls.
You also have an opportunity to use basic addition
and subtraction skills by asking such questions as, "We have four cups of
flour in the bowl. When we add two more, how many will we have all together?"
Parents who spend the time to work on these skills
at home with their children will be sending the kids to school with an
enhanced understanding of the process.