Experimenting with Length

Experimenting with Length
Photo by: Nancy M.

sumana Submitted by: sumana

This activity helps children to understand the differences between Long and Short. It also helps introduce comparing lengths.

10 minutes
36 - 60 months
Group size
1 - 8 tots


  • Vegetables of different sizes (Carrots, celery and beans)
  • Sticks (Gathering their own from windfall enhances this activity.)
  • Bamboo sticks (Cut to differing lengths)
  • Rope (Cut to differing lengths)
  • Ribbon (Cut to differing lengths)
  • Utinsils with long and short handles (Wooden spoons, measuring spoons and spatulas.)
  • Shoes


  1. Display random-length sets of three like objects.
  2. Ask child to identify longest, next longest and shortest.
  3. Allow the child to experience the length of each item, compared to their arm, leg or hand.
  4. Ask child to re-arrange display to correspond with length gradation.
  5. Combine all longest items and all shortest items.
  6. Is the carrot longer than the ribbon? The wooden spoon shorter than the length of rope?
Associated Activity
"I can measure objects with non-standard units" is a Common Core State Standard for First Grade Math. Have your child measure the objects with paper clips, connecting cubes, craft sticks or another non0standard unit.

Developmental skills