Measurement activities can help young children understand basic Maths concepts and learn valuable life skills. Developing the ability to estimate and to measure accurately takes time and practice. The following are some tips on helping your child to understand measurement.
What you can doFind items about the house to measure – Encourage your child to look for items that are longer or shorter than a length of string, a shoe, a book or any other item of your choice. Use the shoe or book to measure the length of a radiator, a floor mat or a worktop. Fill different sized containers with water from a sink or bath, or sand from a sandbox, and establish which containers hold more and which hold less.
Estimate everything – Get your child to guess how many steps there are from the front door to the gate and then walk the distance together, counting the steps as you go. Estimate how many cartons of milk will be needed for the week and at the end of the week count up how many were actually used. Estimate the time it will take to travel from one place to another. If your child thinks a trip will take 15 minutes, get them to work out what time they would need to leave to arrive at a particular time.
Discuss time – Have your child check the time on the clock when they get up, go to school, eat dinner, go to bed etc. Help them to look up the time of a particular programme they want to watch in a television guide. If you are travelling by bus or train look up the timetables together and discuss departure and arrival times. Make regular use of the calendar and help your child to fill in future events.
If you are measuring include your child in measurement activities – If you are baking a cake give your child the opportunity to measure some of the ingredients. If you are building a bookshelf discuss the length and the width that the bookshelf will need to be. When going grocery shopping, encourage your child to estimate what the items in the trolley will cost and how much change you should get from a particular sum of money.
Keep a daily temperature record – Measure the temperature each day, morning and evening for a week, and discuss how the temperature varied from day to day, and at different times of the day.
Organisation of household items – Young children can help to organise boxes or cans in order of height from tallest to shortest or vice versa. Compare heights using vocabulary such as “taller”, “shorter”, “bigger” and “smaller”.
Other HelpThere are hundreds of websites online with Maths homework help including puzzles, games, worksheets and much more. These sites are designed to help children improve their Maths skills interactively and are a fantastic way to build your child’s enthusiasm for Maths. The most important way you can help your child with Maths is to remain positive at all times. Let them know that you think Maths is fun and that everyone can learn Maths.
It is important that your child understands the reason that we learn Maths, so be sure to point out ways that Maths can be used in real life situations. Encourage your child to be persistent, even if they are having difficulties, and always praise your child for their achievements in working out a problem or grasping a new concept.