Most parents feel comfortable helping their children with basic math operations such as addition and subtraction. Parents can also help reinforce other math concepts at home as well. There are so many simple, at-home activities that parents can do with their children to help them learn about measurement.
These insights spill over into other disciplines, from chemistry to cooking. One way to help your young child learn about measurement is to build a house out of any type of building blocks. Make sure to use terms such as “bigger,” “smaller,” “wider,” “longer,” and “taller.” Your child will be learning math vocabulary and getting a solid foundation—literally—in measurement skills.
Then, why not transition to liquid measurement? Start with two glasses of the same size. Ask your child which has a greater “volume” of water, one glass or the other. Then, pour the contents of one glass into a bigger or smaller glass. Explain that the volume of water hasn’t changed; just the size of the container.
Another activity to help reinforce measurement skills is to go on a measurement hunt. Younger children may not be ready to start measuring with a ruler or measuring tape, but even the youngest child can measure with a string. In math, this is referred to as a “non-standard measuring tool.” Any length of string will do, but around a foot long is ideal because it is easy for a young child to manipulate.
To begin this activity, have a conversation with your child about how things come in different sizes. Point to an object such as toy. Ask your child to find a toy that is larger. Ask your child to find a toy that is smaller and then ask your child to find an object about the same length as the string. Point to other objects. Ask your child if each object is longer or shorter than the string. If your child is handling this activity fairly easily, challenge him or her by asking to choose three objects and put them in order from smallest to largest.
What’s more fun than having a watermelon spitting contest in the summertime? Your child will love this activity and learn about measurement at the same time. All you need is a watermelon and a measuring tape. Each member of your family should take turns spitting watermelon seeds one at a time. Have your child measure from where the person is standing to where the seed lands. Help your child make a chart to record the data. After the contest, compare the data. Ask your children who spit the seed their longest distance. Ask who spit their seed the shortest distance.
Remember, you are your child’s best teacher. You are more qualified than you think to help your child be successful in math. Every day life lends itself to a multitude of math problems. Plus, most kids think these at-home math activities are fun and feel much more like a game than a chore!