Fun Math Activities Children Can Do at Home

Kids in elementary school learn how to measure items using rulers, convert measurements and tell time. To practice these real-world skills at home, use the following hands-on activities.

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Elementary Measurement at a Glance

Kindergarteners begin measuring by comparing objects based on their size. By the time your child reaches first grade, he or she will use length to place objects in order. At the second grade level, your child will be introduced to basic units of measurement and will learn how to use the units to measure an item. At the third and fourth grade levels, children learn to calculate the area and perimeter of objects. Finally, fifth graders are introduced to capacity and convert measurements using various units, such as meters to centimeters.

Lower Elementary (K-2)

How Long Is It?

Before beginning this activity, cut several different lengths of yarn for your child to measure. Have your child measure each piece with an inch ruler and record the measurement. Then, have your child measure the same pieces of yarn with a centimeter ruler. Sit down and discuss with your child why the centimeter measurements appear to be much larger than the strings' lengths in inches. For an added challenge, you may even have your child make a prediction of the length before beginning.

Match That Time!

Using index cards, draw clocks with a given time. Then, record the same time in written form (e.g., 4:30) on other cards. All of the cards should be turned face down on the table. Players will take turns flipping over two cards in search of matching times. If a player makes a match, then he or she will take possession of the two cards. If no match is made, the cards are turned back over and returned to play. At the end of the game, the player with the most cards wins!

Upper Elementary (3-5)

Exploring Measurement

Before beginning this outdoor activity, gather a ruler, a yardstick and a tape measure for your child to use. Prepare a list of items for your child to measure outside, such as the width of a sidewalk or the height of a small bush. Going through the list one item at a time, ask your child to decide which measuring tool should be used to measure the item. Have your child make a prediction of the item's measurement and record it on the paper. Using the chosen form of measurement, have your child measure the item and record the actual measurement.

If your child's predictions are very inaccurate, discuss why. Recording all measurement data will help your child to see if his or her predictions are improving. Be sure to include items that will use each of the forms of measurement.

How Much Time Has Passed?

For this activity, you will need to make a paper clock that has movable hands. Create scenarios and have your child use the clock to model the times and to determine how much time has elapsed.

For example, you could tell your child, 'It is 4:00. My favorite show starts at 7:00. How much time will pass while I wait for my favorite show?' Your child would model 4:00 on the paper clock and then move the hands on the clock to show 7:00, thus discovering that three hours will pass. Depending on your child's ability level, you may want to begin by only using hours and build up to including minutes into the scenarios.

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