In maths measuring is about using standard units in order to compare characteristics such as length or capacity. Standard units are hard for young children to grasp but they can start to understand the difference between features such as length or weight and begin to make comparisons. At this point children may over generalise and decide that all big things are heavy for example, so offering them opportunities to discover that small things can be heavy too will help to broaden their view. Using words, like long, tall, high, heavy rather than just big will support developing concepts of measure. As will giving them examples of relativity for example, ‘I am taller than you, but you are taller than the cat’. When your child has had lots of experience making comparisons, then you can move on to estimating and start asking ‘what do you think will fit it this box?’ or ‘which hat will fit teddy best?’ You could try the following activities at home:
- Find different sized shoes and put them in order of size.
- Measure yourselves against the doors and chairs, are you taller or shorter?
- Find out who has the biggest hands in the family. How can you tell?
- Play with different sized beakers in the bath. Which holds the most water? Which holds the least? Does a tall thin container hold more or less than a short wide one?
- How many short sausages or long sausages can you make from the same lump of play dough?
- Hold an empty carrier bag in each hand and put different items in each, which is heavier and pulling your arm down more?