Dad, Aoife and Orla are out for a walk in the park. As the children climb a tree Dad uses words like high and low, far and near. When they pick up sticks he draws their attention to differences in length and size. A couple of days later as he reads them their bedtime story ‘Spot Bakes a Cake’ he explores measure words like tall and long. Looking at the cover they chat about Spot being up on a high stool and wearing a tall chef’s hat and using a spoon with a very long handle in order to stir the cake.

As can be seen from the example above, maths is everywhere around us. This tip sheet focuses on one area of maths: measure. During the pre-school and early primary school years it is important that children learn to use a range of measure words especially when comparing the height, length and size of people and objects.

Using the language of measure The table on the next page gives some ideas of language you might use to help your child talk about measure during play and every day activities. Encourage your child to compare the height, length and size of people and objects. Talk about how things are the same and how they are different and introduce measure words like higher, longer, lightest, tallest rather than using terms like big and small.

Activity                                                                                 Language you might use

Playing with toys                                              What a lovely little teddy! You have the smallest one in the box.

Exploring water                                               Look, the jug is overflowing.

Drawing a picture                                            This crayon is thick but the pencil is thin.

Making shapes with play dough                 That snake is very long. But this snake is really short.

Building with the blocks                                That tower is so tall. Look it’s even taller than you!

Tidying the toys away                                     The cars go in the largest box.

Getting dressed                                                These socks are the same size.

Getting a drink                                                  Oops, the cup is nearly full!

Carrying the groceries                                    This bag is very heavy.

Baking bread                                                      I don’t have enough flour to make the bread. Look the bag is

nearly empty!

Getting ready to buy something                There are lots of coins but only a few notes in my purse.

Getting the rubbish ready for the bin       A longer piece of string would be better to tie the bag.


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