Measure up!

Help your toddler understand the difference between "big" and "small" and "long" and "short" with this easy activity. 

You'll Need

  • Toy, doll or animal


10 minutes

Learning Stages

Can toddlers really measure things? In a way, yes. While their attempts at measurement do not look or sound like that of adults, toddlers are beginning to understand the difference between big and small and long and short. Frequently, the arrival of a new sibling brings into focus the difference between big and small: “I am bigger than the baby.” Other “measurements” such as faster/slower and louder/quieter help children not only describe their environment, but themselves as well!

Use your child’s animals and dolls to measure and compare. Is the toy bigger or smaller than your child? Is it bigger than a bug? Smaller than a horse? Who is taller? Is anyone shorter? Take your child’s puppy pal outside in the garden or park—how many plants are bigger? Are there any that are smaller? Have fun and make up your own questions. Ask your child to provide some of the questions.