Teeter-Totter, Teeter, Totter”, exclaimed my 2 year-old granddaughter!  I had just pulled a child balance scale and a bag of cranberries out of my “Mary Poppins” grandma bag for this visit.  We quickly rushed to a table in the kitchen and the fun began.  For both girls, I gave a data sheet to track their predictions and results.  For the younger, it was used as a pre-writing sheet that was just like her big sister’s calculations.

I explained to the eldest that the goal was each bucket needed to be perfectly aligned in the air; cranberries on one side and the object on the other.  This equal balance position would determine the weight of each object. The measurement standard – berries instead of grams!  The berries can be counted as the object is balancing or afterwards.  The skill of subtraction can also be reinforced in this simple task.

The girls, ages 2 and 5 ½, had a blast guessing how many cranberries a pencil, scissors and crayon would weigh.   But the youngest just had fun just picking up the cranberries and dropping them into the balance bucket.  It made a cool sound and she could practice counting cranberries. Oh, and squishing them, too!

Non-standard measurement is a fun early learning skill easily done in many ways.  If you have not heard the term before, it just means using other things to measure with instead of the standards we use: inches, feet, centimeters, ounces, grams, etc.  For example, using acorns in a balance scale to weigh everyday household items.  Or cheerios lined up in a row to measure a spoon, a plate, etc. You may purchase a balance scale or learning bucket fairly cheap on line.

Your child(ren) will have hours of fun finding objects as a measurement standard, predicting, comparing, and weighing objects from your house or classroom!


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All comments (1)
  • joyce
    January 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Sounds like a fun way to teach little ones to count & measure.


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