Before your child knows numbers…
Make a long strip of paper by pasting shorter pieces together. You can add more
pieces if you need them later. Let your child measure whatever he wants (for
example, the height of a teddy bear or doll). Your child can lay the paper strip
along the toy, mark on the paper the height of the toy, and draw a picture of the
toy beside the mark. Then he can use the same paper to measure another toy, or
himself, or a table, or whatever. Don’t worry about getting it right. Sometimes the
paper strip will show the teddy is taller than the child. If your child notices, let him
figure out what went wrong. If he doesn’t notice, don’t say anything. The lesson he
is learning here is that you have to start each measurement from the same place on
the tape if you want to compare the measurements. Give him lots of time and many
tries to figure out that important lesson for himself.
It is fun to measure around things, too: around the teddy’s waist; around a footstool;
around a chair; around his own wrist or waist; around a coffee mug.
Start a height chart for him. Measure him against the door frame, so he can see how
he is growing over the months and years. If you want a record you can take with you
when you move, mark the measurements on a long strip of paper taped to the wall,
or on a tall flat stick.
When your child is learning to read numbers…
Use the same kind of paper strip to measure some things, then use a tape measure
on the strip to measure the thing in centimetres or inches; write down the number.
Don’t worry about fractions at first. The strip will keep a record of all the things
measured, and it will be easy to see which is longest or biggest around.