The preschool years are a great time to introduce a variety of math concepts. Measurement is one concept to incorporate into the preschool math curriculum. The kids won’t be measuring centimeters or weighing objects to the ounce, but they can handle some basic measurement activities that build the foundation for the advanced measuring skills.
Bring in several scales for your preschool students to use for an introducing into weighing. A balance scale works well for the preschool level. They don’t have to read a dial to find a specific weight, but the scale gives them a visual on comparing weights of objects. Comparing objects is a basic preschool math skill.
Set up the balance scale in a learning center. This allows the preschoolers to interact with and explore the scale on their own. Put out several objects for the kids to measure. Teach them how to make a prediction about which object is heavier before putting them on the scale.
You can also use a certain type of object to find a weight for an object. For example, you might use wooden counter blocks as the measurement. Have the kids place the item they want to weigh on one side of the scale. Then have them add one block at a time on the other side until the scale is balanced. They can then count the number of blocks to see how many it took to balance the scale.
Another way to introduce measurement concepts at the preschool level is with cooking. The kids learn that each measuring cup or spoon is a certain amount. They might not be able to read the recipe themselves or fully understand how the measurements compare, but they do interact with the measuring utensils. Cooking requires constant supervision, especially if it involves heat.
Counters or blocks come in handy as a preschool-friendly measuring unit. Instead of having the kids try to read a ruler, let them use blocks as a unit of measurement. When they want to measure an object, they place a row of blocks end-to-end along the item. They can then count the number of blocks to get a measurement.
Sensory Table Measuring
Containers of different sizes work well in a sensory table to introduce the idea of measuring. The kids can use the containers to scoop up the water or other material in the sensory table. Show them how to pour the material from one container to another to compare the amount inside.