Duplo measuring stick activity for preschoolers

This fun and simple measuring activity for preschoolers uses a measuring stick made from Lego Duplo blocks to measure foot size.

This week my preschooler and I have been honing our measuring skills with a simple Duplo measuring activity perfect for preschoolers.

This measuring activity came about because we were talking about the different sizes of feet that the different members of our family have. After thinking about people’s feet sizes, we decided that we should measure the feet of everyone in our family to see who had the biggest and who had the smallest.

As we are not quite ready to use rulers or measuring tapes yet, we instead constructed our own super simple (and bright and cheerful) measuring stick using Duplo blocks.

Using a simple measuring stick like this is a great way to introduce the concept of measuring.

If you’re interested in having a go at this measuring activity for preschoolers, here’s a quick run down of the things you will need and a description of what we did.

What you need

• 15 Duplo blocks (all the same height)
• tape
• recording sheet (available to download at the end of this post)
• pencil
• people (or friendly pets) to measure

Making the Duplo measuring stick

To make our measuring stick we stacked 15 Duplo blocks on top of each other. Make sure that all of the Duplo blocks are the same height.

Once you’ve made your stick of 15 blocks, it’s worth putting a long strip of tape down two opposite sides. This keeps your measuring stick from snapping in half as your child is measuring (which can be quite annoying).

Now, if you wanted to, you could write number the blocks so that you could simply read off the top number. I deliberately didn’t do this so that my preschooler had to count the blocks each time – hooray for counting practice!

(Just a note that as you don’t have any numbers written on the measuring stick for your preschooler to copy down, they may need a bit of help in writing the number on the recording sheet. Or you can do the recording for them whilst they focus on the measuring part. For us this activity was all about measuring practice and our focus today was not really on writing numbers).

Taking measurements

Should the person being measured be sitting down or standing up?

Would it be easy or difficult to measure someone’s foot if they were wobbling about on one leg whilst waving their foot in the air?

Did it matter if we measured the person’s left or right foot?

It’s likely that when you ask your preschooler these questions, they’ll come out with some really awesome and entertaining answers in the way that only a small child can. Mine certainly did.

In the end we determined that for the actual measuring part, the person whose foot was being measured should sit on the floor with their legs out in front of them and their toes pointing up to the ceiling.

This worked really well as we could place the measuring stick on the floor next to the person’s foot and easily line up the bottom of the foot with the bottom of the Duplo measuring stick. (This is kind of an important point when it comes to measuring that your preschooler may not quite ‘get’ at first – that the start of the measuring stick needs to be in line with the start of the object being measured. Once they understand this, measuring becomes a lot more accurate!)

By the end of this activity, we were so skilled and speedy at measuring, we even managed to measure our friendly (and very patient) pooch before he wandered off for a mid-afternoon snooze.

Recording measurements

We recorded our foot measurements with a simple recording chart that you can download here:

This simple recording sheet consists of two columns – one for the person’s name and one for their foot measurement (i.e. how many blocks tall their foot was).

For each foot, we recorded the number of blocks tall it was. To keep everything really simple we just recorded the number of whole blocks the foot measured – we didn’t do any rounding up or down.

Looking at our results

When we had finished measuring all our family members’ feet, we had a look at our results. Looking at the results, we tried to answer these questions:

• Who has the biggest feet? How do we know that?
• Who has the smallest feet?
• How many blocks tall is (insert name here!)’s foot?
• How many blocks tall is your foot?

If your preschooler isn’t sure which of the numbers is biggest (when looking at the results) it may be helpful to have a number line to hand so you can compare the numbers and see which is furthest along the number line.

So there you go! Who needs a measuring tape when you have a few trusty Duplo blocks to hand?! Super simple, fun, and a great introduction to measuring for preschool aged children.

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