Friday, July 25, 2008

Buy a Scale and a Tape Measure

No, you're not fat. It's just a good way to help your child learn about measurement.

You can teach about measurement during the course of your days and have a lot of fun doing it. Your child may even think he is playing games with some cool toys.

Start by giving your child a set of measuring cups and spoons to play with. He can play at the sink measuring water into a dishpan. Put bubbles in and make it even more fun. You can give your child access to a sand or rice table, or sandbox or even the beach! Filling and dumping measuring cups and spoons is the beginning of learning about weight and volume.

When your is around three or four, or can recognize numbers, you can give him a ruler or tape measure to play with, supervised of course. Measure things together. Carrots, fingers, cloth, wood, fruit, toys, couches, name it.

With this you can introduce, as a matter of course during regular conversation, concepts such as big and little, short and long, near and far, few and many, empty and full, more and less.
Without even making a big deal about it, you will be using math terms every day.

When your child gets a little older, you can expand on volume and weight. Weigh yourselves at the grocery store, with and without groceries in hand. Find different scales at garage sales or on eBay, and set them up in an area of the house. Your child will spend more time than you would ever expect measuring things on a scale. Give her two items and tell her to tell you which one weighs more. Have her do it on a few different types of scales.

You can also ask her to measure things with a tape measure to see which are taller, or wider, or more. When she is old enough to count above ten, introduce inches, feet, yards, or metric measurements. Then you can ask her to measure the dimensions of a room or other objects on her own.

Enjoy these "games." You may be developing a future master carpenter, cabinet maker, chef, tailor, seamstress, or sail maker, not to mention accountant or astronomer!

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