Three ways to play and learn with measurement

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

Children love to measure things in their world. Pebble has often helped us with measuring furniture for a space in our house, or measuring ingredients for cooking. She also naturally measures objects in her play, choosing longer and shorter blocks for building, filling and pouring different sized cups of water in the bath or choosing which piece of furniture to put where in her doll house. 

Giving children the chance to play with measurement helps them learn how to compare objects and use words such as ‘tall’, ‘taller’, ‘heavy’, ‘heavier’, ‘full’, ’empty’.

1. Block play

You will need:

  • blocks of different sizes

How to play

  • Build with the blocks.
  • Talk about the similarities and differences – colour, size, shape.
  • Hunt for blocks that are short and blocks that are tall.
  • Choose five blocks and put them in order from tallest to shortest.

Before starting this activity it’s important that your child knows what “long” and “short’ mean and how to compare two objects. If five objects is too overwhelming then start with a few less.

Pebble found this activity easy peasy. I asked her how she knew which one was the longest and she showed me how she lined them up along side each other to check. Rocky joined in alongside, playing with the blocks too.

We talked about how the size of the blocks changed depending on which way you turned them and ultimately Pebble chose which way she wanted the blocks to go.

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

2. Lego Towers Race

You will need:

  • duplo/lego
  • stop watch/clock/timer

How to play:

  • Set the timer for 60 seconds.
  • Build a tower as tall as you can in that time.
  • Keep repeating the tower building race until you have three or four towers (or build one each if you are playing with three or four children).
  • Compare the towers to see which is the tallest and which is the shortest. Put them in order.

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

3. Straw collage

You will need:

  • straws
  • scissors
  • paper
  • craft glue

How to play:

  • Cut straws into different lengths using the scissors.
  • Choose some straws of different lengths to stick on to your straw collage.
  • Stick the straws in order from tallest to shortest.

This looks very simple but can be quite tricky, especially with so many objects to compare. Pebble lined up each straw from one end, so that she was getting an accurate comparison. It takes children a little while to get the hang of doing this. Lots and lots of practice will help them get more confident and accurate.

Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky} Playing with Measurement {via Octavia and Vicky}

More ideas for playing with measurement:

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities
More maths play on Octavia and Vicky:

Invitation to Play bottle top numbres

Learning about numbers - subitising and number recognition | Octavia and Vicky

DIY Sticky Doll House

DIY Sticky Doll House {via Octavia and Vicky}

DIY Sticky Doll House {via Octavia and Vicky}

The other day Pebble came up to me, as she often does, rattling off a verbal list of craft supplies for her latest project. I’m usually a ‘yes’ mama when it comes to craft, especially now that Pebble is four and super independent. Craft time usually means that I can get some housework done plan a lesson or two and maybe write a blog post. I pulled out all the craft materials that Pebble asked for, gave her a little help with cutting up shapes and peeling and sticking contact paper, and she made this super gorgeous doll house! Read on for instructions for your own DIY doll house.

DIY Doll House

You will need:

  • one large box (we used a nappy box)
  • scissors
  • clear or coloured contact paper (sticky backed paper)
  • sticky tape
  • white or coloured paper
  • collage materials (we cut shapes from coloured paper and foam, but you could use any collage materials)
  • optional: washi tape

DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage

To set up: 

  • cut off the flaps from the top of the box, which will become the roof.
  • cover the sides of your box with white (or coloured) paper, to cover any patterns or labels on the box and help the collage to really stand out.
  • cut holes in the sides of the box for doors (and windows if you like).
  • cover the (open) roof and sides of the box with contact paper, making sure that the sticky side is facing out, ready for collage. Don’t worry about being too neat, as the contact paper will be covered with collage anyway.

DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage

To create the collage:

  • place the collage materials and contact paper-covered house in easy reach of a toddler, preschooler or school age child and watch as they go to town, decorating their house!
  • Pebble had very specific ideas about wanting tiles and bricks on her house, but children could decorate their house in any way that they liked.

Optional extras: 

  • create washi tape carpets and rugs by sticking strips of washi tape on to paper parallel to each other. Trim with scissors to neaten up and stick in your play house with double sided tape. Washi tape can also be used as part of the collage on the outside of the house.
  • Children can make their own accessories and furniture (Pebble  made that star covered letterbox).
  • You could also create picture frames on the walls or stick pictures of family and friends and the walls for some doll house wall art :) Ok, I’ll stop now…. but the options are endless!

Time to play!

  • The fun isn’t over yet. Help children to choose their favourite dolls or figures to play in the house. They will come back to this play scene again and again.

DIY Cardboard Dolls House with Contact Paper Collage

Why use contact paper? 

  • Contact paper allows children the freedom to add and remove collage materials easily, taking away the fear of doing it “wrong” or making a mistake. It also allows them to more freely adapt their designs as they go.

Learning through play

While creating and playing with her house Pebble has been practising:

  • fine motor skills
  • dramatic play
  • identifying shapes
  • sorting objects by size
  • naming colours
  • estimating and comparing length
  • having fun!

Do you and your kids love using contact paper? I love using it for anything EXCEPT covering books. Now that’s a tricky job!

Want more fun ideas for kids? Just download your copy of the Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook. Watch the 30 second video and buy your copy now or find out more.


Three to Five Playful Preschool ebook - 25+ Playful Preschool Activities

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top Numbers and The Weekly Kids Co Op

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top Maths

Pebble wanted to play ‘schools’ the other day. Again. I’m always the teacher and she’s always the eager student. It’s always her birthday and the class sings to her. We practice our “ABCs” and our numbers. Then we go outside for play time. It’s pretty fun! This week I threw in a new way to practice our numbers with stuff that I had around the house and she loved it.

{read on for this weeks Kids Co-Op linky}

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top NumbersInvitation to Play: Bottle Top Numbers

You will need:

  • cup cake cases
  • bottle tops
  • permanent marker
  • beads

To set up: 

  • write the numbers 1 – 10 on the bottle tops
  • write the numbers 1 – 10 in the cup cake cakes.

To play: 

  • match the cup case numbers to the bottle top numbers.
  • fill the cup cases/bottle tops with the correct number of beads

Make it easier: 

  • just use the cup cake cases instead of matching bottle top numbers
  • use less numbers (eg. 1 – 5)

Make it trickier: 

  • use more numbers (eg. 1 – 20)
  • put the numbers into the correct order
  • use only matching beads for each number
  • turn all the cup cake cases and bottle tops over and play a memory matching game

Play other stuff:

  • pour beads from one cup cake case to another
  • make patterns with the cup cake cases, bottle tops and beads
  • pretend you are the owner of a sweet shop and sell your sweets (beads) to customers

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top Maths

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top Maths

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top Maths

Invitation to Play: Bottle Top Maths

DIY Board Game

DIY Board Game

Way back when, before I had TWO kids, Pebble and I spent an afternoon making and playing with this board game, and came back to revisit it again and again. It was a lovely activity to do together and gave lots of opportunities for learning.DIY Board Game

How to make a board game:

We started by drawing a map of places that Pebble knows  – home, Grandma’s, the shops, the park. She told me what she wanted to draw and asked me to help her draw it. It was when she was going through a “you do it” phase, so lots of the drawings are mine. Pebble drew the ‘stop sign’ – she was very interested in road signs at the time. We used a small square of foam and some dot stickers to make a toddler friendly die representing 1, 2 and 3. You could use a regular six sided dice with older children. Once the map was made we took turns rolling the dice and moving our game pieces around the board. You can use anything for a game piece – we used these gorgeous crayons which have been lots of fun during play and art sessions.

Learning opportunities:

  • pre-writing
  • drawing
  • counting
  • turn taking
  • following rules
  • connecting real life experience to play

Try this:

  • make a board game based on a favourite book, movie or song
  • make a snakes and ladders style game
  • create directions along the path of the board game that encourage children to move and pretend, such as “jump like a kangaroo” or “wobble like a jelly”.

What type of board game would your children like to make?

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and Vicky

Being a teacher and a mama I just can’t help but collect rubbish. I have little collections of recycling in the pantry, the entry, the children’s rooms. It’s free craft – I’d be mad not to! I’ve been collecting bottle tops for ages. I have a zip lock bag in the pantry where I throw them as soon as they’re washed and dried and when the bag gets full I add them to the large collection amongst our craft supplies. Recently the collection was bulging and Pebble was looking for some fun, so we took them outside for some play in the water tray and our old baby bath tub.

I didn’t give any instructions or directions for this play, I just stood back and watched her explore and play and do her own thing, chatting with her about it as she went. Pebble is a particular little girl, she likes to line things up and put things in order. The first thing she did was pick out all the white bottle tops and line the bottom of the water tray with them.

The bottle tops had different purposes as she played. At first they were objects to be arranged and counted. Then they became a snake. After a long time focussing on this careful arrangement she was ready to get stuck in with the water and coloured bottle tops. There was lots of active swishing, some singing, some floating and talk about boats.

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and Vicky

This play gave lots of opportunities for sorting, counting, arrangingimagining, singing and experimenting – all with a few bottle tops and some water.

Bottle tops can be used for play and creating in SO many ways. Here are twelve more fun ideas for playing and learning with bottle tops and bottle caps. Have fun!

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyHeart Sponge Painting – Boy Mama Teacher Mama

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyMaking Lid Soup – Teach Preschool
13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyBottle Top Painting – Preschool Playbook
13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickySticky Window Art – A Little Learning for Two13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyBottle Top Stamps – A Little Learning for Two
13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyRainbow Rice and Bottle Tops – Learning 4 Kids13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyThe Very Hungry Caterpillar Sensory Tub – The Imagination Tree

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickySpelling with Bottle Tops – Crayon Freckles
13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyThe Very Hungry Caterpillar – Learn with Play at Home 13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyBottle Cap Math – Boy Mama Teacher Mama
13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickyBottle Cap Letters – Brick by Brick

13 Ways to Play and Learn with Bottle Tops | Octavia and VickySorting Colours – Learning 4 Kids

Do you collect ‘rubbish’ for play? Have you played with bottle tops lately? 

Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky

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