How big is the yard around the house? How many cups of flour do we need to make the sugar cookies? Will this furniture fit in that space? etc etc ….. As you can see, Measurement is an integral part of everything we do in life. There is really very little we can do without knowing about or measuring things.
Children enjoy talking about how “big” they are, How “tall” they are,how “mommy is bigger than” them etc.
When children work in the Montessori primary classroom, they often times build towers or structures with the sensorial materials and “measure” themselves against it to see if they are “taller” or “shorter” than that. For example, When children work with the red rods, they usually take one rod at a time , stand next to it and see which rod is taller than them and which ones are shorter than them. A great visual activity to internalize the concept of measurement !
While playing with their friends outside, children often times stand next to one another and measure who is the biggest.
They compare their hair, their utensils at snack/lunch , their water bottles…. just about everything.
Measurement helps with eye hand coordination, build life skills, help prepare for the mathematical mind to work out the complex problems, equations and geometry and improve vocabulary.
What is are simple ways to introduce “measurement” to young children?
By using comparison words in sentences like “My shoes are bigger than your shoes”.
Encourage children to grade household objects from long to short.
Have children roll out play dough of the specific length to match the length of household objects or pipe cleaners.
Have children help get ingredients ready for cooking/baking and participate in food prep.
Read books about measurement.
Provide measuring tape and ruler to the child, so they can explore them and practice measuring things.
Show children that we could use other ways to measure things like our foot, hand etc.
Verbalize the concept of measurement units.
Discuss that units of measurement have specific names and are different for fabric, solids,liquids etc.