Home Activity

Cat in the Hat: Go on a Length Hunt

What's The Point

Before kids learn to use standard tools, such as a ruler, to measure length and height, it is helpful to introduce them to non-standard measuring tools. These can be anything from their own feet and hands to pencils, pennies, or a length of string.

Related Game

Welcome to Beaver City – Measure logs and help beavers build their homes.

This Activity Will Help Your Child

  • Use measuring tools
  • Compare sizes

Book Suggestions

  • Big Dog, Little Dog
    by P.D. Eastman
  • Inch by Inch
    by Leo Lionni


  • String or yarn
  • Scissors
  • Things around the house to measure

How Do I Do It?

  1. Before you start, walk around your home, and talk with your child about how things come in different sizes. For example, point to a book and ask your child, “Can you find another book that is smaller than this one? Can you find one that is bigger? ” You can do this activity with other items as well, such as pieces of furniture, mugs, and toys.
  2. Cut a piece of string or yarn into 5 different lengths, none longer than a foot.
  3. Put the pieces of string into a paper bag or other container.
  4. First show your child how to do the activity by reaching into the bag and choosing one of the pieces of string.
  5. Ask your child to help you look around the house and find something that is about the same size as the string. When you find something, hold the piece of string up to it. Ask your child, “Is it the same size as the string?” If it isn’t, ask, “Is it shorter or longer than the piece of string?”
  6. Let your child choose a piece of string and identify an object to measure. To measure accurately, show your child how to place one end of the string exactly at the end of the object before extending it to the other side of the object.

Take It Further

Get three of the items that your child just measured, and put them next to each other on a table. Ask your child to put them in order from smallest to biggest. Which is the smallest? Which is the biggest?