The time you spend teaching preschool math to your children will give them a wonderful foundation for their school years. These hands-on weighing and measuring activities will demonstrate how numbers are used in everyday life. By engaging your child in a few simple actions and tasks, you can subtly introduce concepts of length, weight and capacity.
Weighing and Measuring Activities
1. Baking & cooking
Let your child observe (and assist where possible and safe) when you are cooking dinner, or baking a cake. Measuring one cup of flour, two ounces of butter or a pint of milk might not be exciting for us, but for a small child it is a thrill!
2. How many feet?
Trace the outline of your child’s feet on a piece of paper and help your child cut them out. Use the ‘feet’ to measure objects around the house – how long is the kitchen table? How long is my bed?
3. Tidy the books
This one’s a hidden chore! When you find books scattered all over the floor, ask your child to pick out the tallest books, and the shortest. Continue to arrange the books in height order back onto the bookshelf.
4. Water Water Water
Your child probably already does this in the bath, but it can also be done at a sink or with a large bucket of water. Collect a range of items that your child can use in the water – a plastic jug or beaker, a sieve, a funnel, or a plastic cup with holes in the bottom.
First discuss with your child which ones will hold the water and which will let water through – then let them test each one!
5. The human scale
Collect a range of items from around the house or garden – make sure they vary in weight. For example, a book, a leaf, an apple, a pebble or a packet of cookies.
Place a light item in one of your child’s hands, and a heavier item in the other hand. Ask your child which is heaviest.
You could also ask your child to close their eyes to eliminate any visual clues!
6. Weight outside
On a trip to the park or on a walk, ask your child to observe the birds and ask them questions about them. For example, which bird looks biggest or heaviest? Which bird looks smallest or lightest?
Look at the plants and trees – what would be heavier, the tree or a twig? Encourage your child to use their powers of observation to judge weights.
More Math Activities & Resources
There are many other everyday activities involving math you can discuss with your child such as sports statistics, bus and train timetables and restaurant menus.