National Tape Measure Day
July 14th 2021
Tape measures are an incredibly useful tool for adults, but they can also be used as a resource for learning with children. National Tape Measure Day is a brilliant excuse to bring them into your setting and share with children the joys of space, shape and measure.
The use of tape measures can be adapted for each age group, from helping toddlers to explore their mechanics, to older children measuring items and documenting their findings. There are many varieties of tape measure to choose from: the metal ones used for building, ribbon ones typically used in tailoring, or large plastic ones created specifically for children. You will need to supervise children with the retractable ones carefully to avoid risk of injury.
Here are some fun ways to get children engaged this July 14th for National Tape Measure Day:
A good activity for comparing similarities and differences is to measure the children and see how they vary in height. This can be done by creating a height chart with measurements written on it and having them all stand up against it. They can then visually compare their heights. Alternatively, measure each child and write down the numbers on a whiteboard or piece of paper, then determine which number is the biggest/smallest, or what the tallest/shortest sizes are. Positively explain how we embrace our differences and that it is not a competition but a fun game.
Using a tape measure or ruler show the children the units of measurement (centimetres and millimetres), encourage them to repeat the words to expand their vocabulary and deepen their understanding. This can be further extended to discussing larger measurements such as metres, kilometres and miles. Find some pictures to show them (such as maps or speedometers in cars) so they can see how these larger units are used to measure larger distances.
Guess the Measurement
See if the children can find a random assortment of items. Then, taking turns, ask each child to guess how many centimetres they think their item is. Using a tape measure or a ruler, assist them in measuring their item and see how close their guess was. The answer doesn’t need to be correct or even close, it is about enjoying the activity and exploring numbers and measurements.
Find the longest tape measure available (or many multiple ones) and see if the children can work together to measure a large distance within the setting. This could be down a corridor, across a garden or from one end of a classroom to the other. Encourage the children to hold the tape measures close together to get a more accurate measurement, but again the result isn’t the most important aspect. It is about the children to working together as a team and enjoying themselves.