7 Math Storybooks Every Child Should Read, No. 4: How Big is a Foot?
Summer is full of wonderful outdoors activities to take advantage of the beautiful weather. But what about those rainy days when the children are full of energy and have nowhere to go? Sounds like a great day to sit down with a fun book and start a somewhat more controlled activity, maybe even one that involves math.
Reading How Big is a Foot? for math beyond the regular curriculum
How Big is a Foot? by Rolf Myller is one of the cutest books I have seen. With simple illustrations and large, easy-to-read text, this is the story of the attempt to build a bed for the Queen’s birthday. But how can you build a bed when no one knows how big to make it? This is a great short story for kindergartners, although older children may find it too simple.
Mathematically, this story explores new ideas that your child may not have had much exposure to yet. Instead of focusing on counting, this book focuses on measurements. Through the problems caused by non-standard measurement, the story explains the need for standard measurements that everyone understands.
Learning activities to explore after reading How Big is a Foot?
While reading the book is a great start, children often learn better when they have a hands-on activity. In this case, activities that reinforce the concepts in the book require almost no preparation and are lots of fun. You can act out the book by having your child measure his own bed with his feet. How does that compare with your feet or a measurement taken with a ruler? Can you find a way of estimating the standard measurement of an object based on a measurement using your child’s feet? Go try it out with more objects!
If your children are full of energy, you could even arrange a scavenger hunt that takes them all around the house. Give them a list of things to find based on how long they are, but don’t use standard measurements. Use unusual objects to measure with instead, like finding something that is three marshmallows long. And of course your children will love eating their measuring tool afterwards.
So if the children are at loose ends with all their energy, steer them towards this story and these activities to get some learning in while having some summer fun.