Help Your Kids Visualize Distances and Measurements

Judging distances and measurements, especially large measurements, is difficult for kids. 10 feet? 50 feet? Visualizing how long those distances actually are is a challenge.

What we've found that really helps is having something familiar and concrete to compare distances to. So for my own kids, I decided to give them some models for comparison, models that they are extremely familiar with.

So we looked around and found some things in our house that would be good for comparison. We measured the bedrooms and found that Joely's room is almost exactly 10 feet wide, the length of an adult male Komodo dragon. Then we measured the distance from the front door of the house to the back wall — about 40 feet — which is just about how far a red kangaroo can jump.

The vinyl floor in the kitchen is especially helpful since it's broken up into 12-inch squares, so we can judge the length of just about any animal just by looking at the kitchen floor. Our living room ceiling is 10 feet high, about the height of the now-extinct elephant bird of Madagascar. We even found out that our church auditorium is about 100 feet from the lobby doors to the baptistry, which just so happens to be the length of a full-grown blue whale. And the distance from our house to the nearest grocery store is about 1/3 of a mile, which is the length of one of the longest beaver dams ever discovered.

So forget about having to imagine how long 8 school buses would if they were parked end to end, or how tall 3 full-grown men would be if they stood on each other's shoulders. My kids can't picture those things if they've never seen them.

Whenever we read about a distance or measurement during our homeschool day, whether in science, history, or any other subject, we compare that length with something we know around the house or in our neighborhood. Obviously, with those familiar models in mind, it is much easier for my kids to visualize exactly how large or how long things are. (And I'll admit, it's helped me out a lot, too!)

Visualizing distances and measurements gives your kids a touch of reality when compared to something they can see and is in their current environment.

Now it's your turn to link up.

Do you have a homeschool- or education-related post? What has worked for you (or in this case, NOT worked for you) in educating your children? What did you do this week to satisfy your kids' thirst for knowledge?

And remember, you don't have to be a homeschooler to link up; all parents take part in educating their kids. Link up below. I'm looking forward to reading what you have to say.

How to Participate.

  1. Please include your name and a short description of your Thirsty Thursday post in the MckLinky below. For example, Joy @ Five J's {Choosing Curriculum}
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