This week I took my preschoolers to a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) night at our local library, and we had fun with their hands-on activities. One lesson that drew the kids in right away was on measurement. To recreate this lesson at home, I put together a free printable for teaching units of measure.

Measuring involves figuring out and comparing how long or short something is. A great introductory lesson for preschoolers is to use hands as a unit of measure. Inches, feet, and yards are difficult concepts for preschoolers to grasp, but they are very familiar with their hands.

First, cut out lots of hands onto colored paper, using this free template:

Free-Units-of-Measure-Printable

Next, have your child gather several of their favorite stuffed animals. Lay the animals on the floor and place the appropriate number of hand cutouts next to each stuffed animal to measure their length in hands.

STEM-for-Preschoolers-Units-Measure

Compare and contrast the differing lengths of the animals.
Which is longest?
Which is shortest?
How many hands longer is animal A than animal B?

STEM-Preschool-Units-Measure

Have your child lay on the floor and measure their length in hands. How do they compare in length to the stuffed animals?

STEM-Preschool-Units-Measure-1

You can take this lesson a step further by measuring width as well as length.
How does a stuffed animal’s width compare to their height?
Are some of the measurements close?

Or try using the hands to measure distance between the animals on the floor.
Can your child place all of the animals three hands apart?

Have fun practicing measuring things around your house. Use lots of different objects to measure things: blocks, string, socks, etc. My kids thought it was so silly to measure the height of our dining table in forks.

What fun ways can have you found to determine measurements in your home? Tell us in the comments below!

Look for more STEM for preschoolers on my site? Click here.