Grade Levels: K-3

In this set of activities adaptable for grades K-3, parents and educators will find ideas for teaching about the customary measurement units of inches and feet. These activities are designed to complement the BrainPOP Jr. Inches and Feet topic page, which includes a movie, quizzes, online games, printable activities, and more.

Classroom Activities for Teaching About Inches and Feet

Measurement Hunt
On index cards, write different measurements such as 5 inches, 3 feet, and 1 inch. You may also want to use abbreviations so your students become accustomed to reading them. Put the index cards in a hat and have each student or pairs of students draw a card. Then have them measure things in the classroom to find an object that matches the measurement.

Body Part Measurements

Have pairs of students draw an outline of their bodies on large sheets of butcher paper. Then have students measure their body parts in nonstandard and customary units. You may wish to provide a list of parts to measure, such as the length of the foot, width of the neck, the hip bone to the knee, the span of the shoulders, and the distance between the middle finger tip to the elbow. Students can help each other measure using different units and record their measurements on their outlines. Post the outlines around the classroom so students can compare measurements with each other.

Funny Feet

Teach children that people used to use everyday things to help them measure, like their body parts. Teach them some of these older units of measurement: A cubit is length of the forearm from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow (about 18 in.), a digit is the width of a finger (3/4 in.), and a fathom is the arm span from fingertip to fingertip (6 ft). Have each student trace his or her right foot on construction paper and cut it out. Then have them measure and label their cutout in inches. Students can measure things in the classroom using their cutout feet. Invite students to explain why we need standard units of measurement.

Family and Homeschool Activities for Teaching About Inches and Feet

Growing Up

Together, start measuring and recording your child’s growth every month. You can measure your child’s height in customary and nonstandard units. Put up pieces of paper lengthwise on a wall or behind a door and use it to measure and record your child’s growth. Your child can measure his or her height using a ruler or tape measure.

Footstep Map

Make a map of your home or neighborhood with your child. Your child can draw or landmarks and then use footsteps to measure distances between them. For example, the bathroom may be 23 steps from the kitchen. The mail box may be 58 steps from your front door. You and your child can then use the map as a “treasure map.” Hide different objects in your home or point to your child to a secret landmark and give hints based on the measurements on the map.