Tape measures aren’t just for Dad’s toolbox or Mom’s sewing kit. Teaching your preschooler how to use one introduces him to math and units of measurement. At this stage, he only needs to learn how to read the inch marks and maybe even the half-inch marks; the rest he can learn later. For safety’s sake, let him use a cloth measuring tape instead of the metal kind -- math doesn't have to be that painful.
1. How Tall Are You?
Do you remember standing tall against the wall for your mom to measure how tall you’ve grown? Keep that tradition alive by having your preschooler stand against the wall, back straight and tall. Use a pencil to mark his height, just in case you want to erase it later. Hand him a cloth measuring tape, hold the bottom on the ground for him and have him read the measurement. Don’t be surprised if he wants to do this every week to see if he’s grown. You did say that the spinach would make him grow big and strong, after all.
Let him inch into measuring with an activity measuring length. Cut several pipe cleaners into different lengths. Stretch out a cloth measuring tape on the counter or table and tape it in place. Let him measure all of the pipe cleaners and tell you the lengths of each. He can write them down instead, if you want him to work on his fine motor skills, too.
3. Body Parts
Show your preschooler what a big boy he is. Unroll a length of craft paper and have your preschooler lie down on top of it. Trace the outline of his body. Also trace his feet and hands separately. Let him use the tape measure to measure all of the body parts that you’ve traced. He can write the measurement next to the body part, if he wants to be thorough. He can also color his traced body after he is done measuring it.
4. Household Hunt
Get to know your house in a whole new way. Let your preschooler go around the house and measure the height and width of random things. See how the TV, tables and teddy bears measure up to other household items. If your child wants to measure you, maybe offer up your feet instead of your waist.