What's The Point
When children compare objects in their environment and use terms such as "bigger," "smaller," "wider," and "taller," they are laying the foundation for understanding measurement. A fun way for them to practice measurement skills is by building a house for a favorite toy or character like the Cat in the Hat.
Hermit Shell Crab Game
– Kids use sorting and measurement skills to match hermit crabs that have outgrown their shells with new, roomy shell homes.
This Activity Will Help Your Child
- Practice sorting and measurement skills
- Understand the connection between size and shape
- Big Dog, Little Dog
by P.D. Eastman
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
by Jan Brett
Finger Puppets printable
Non-standard unit of measurement (e.g., paperclip or penny)
Crayons or markers
How Do I Do It?
- The Cat in the Hat and his pals Sally and Nick are tired after a full day of adventures and need a place to rest. Ask your child, "Will you make two houses, one that is just the right size for the Cat and another that is just the right size for Sally and Nick?"
- Cut out the Cat and Sally and Nick finger puppets from the Finger Puppets printable.
- Give your child something to measure with, such as a paperclip, penny, or small block.
- Tell your child to measure the puppets and then use the same tool to measure and cut out two square or rectangular pieces of construction paper that are the right height and width for each character. Cut out a triangular piece of paper to glue on for a roof.
- Your child can then use crayons or markers to draw windows and doors on the house and decorate it any way he wants. Be sure he or she measures the door carefully so it is the right height for the character! Ask your child, "Which house will need a taller door?"
- Help your child compare the two houses by asking questions such as: "Is the Cat's house bigger or smaller than Sally and Nick's house?", "Whose house is wider?", and "Which house has the biggest door?"
- You can turn the 2-D house into a 3-D house by gluing the house onto the front of a box. Cut out a door and windows, so the character can go inside the house and look out the windows.
Take It Further
Challenge your child to explore more measuring fun by asking to use his or her feet to measure things around the house. Trace your child's foot on a piece of heavy paper such as poster board or an empty cereal box. Cut it out and use it as a non-standard unit to measure his or her bed, the couch, a table, the TV, the bathtub, etc.
Now trace your foot and cut it out. Measure one of the same items that your child already measured. Compare the two measurements. Ask your child, “Did it take more of my feet or your feet to measure your bed? Why do you think that is?" (Your feet are bigger so it will take less of them.) This teaches your child the value of standard units of measure such as inches, feet and yards.