Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Time For Tots: Water, Volume and Measuring

Warning: Do Not do this Time For Tot's day unless: 1- you can do it outside 2- you are prepared for someone to get wet (in our case-myself) 3- you are ready to have a lot of fun

Lucas has a favorite book from the library this week (which I just realized were due yesterday, doh!) Toy Boat by Randall de Seve and Loren Long. In the story the little boy makes a toy boat which ends up sailing out onto the lake and is lost but thanks to a friendly fishing boat makes it back. Ever since we got this story Lucas has been asking why do boats float, etc. And he said, "I know what we can do for our next Tot's day; we can fill up my boat until it sinks."

Since the weather has warmed up quite a bit I decided why not do some water activities.

As I was looking up things for teaching kids about volume and measuring, I realized that most lessons on that subject (espeically volume) are for 4th grade, so I just put together this Time for Tot's Day on my own.

We began by talking about how you measure different things, length, weight, etc. and then I told them that you measure water or liquids with volume. I then set out 5 different cups and asked the kids to put in order from biggest to smallest which cup they thought would hold the most water. I wrote it down on a chart and then we began filling each cup.
We would fill up each up and then pour the water into a giant measuring cup and then write down the results. There were a few surprises as to which cup was the biggest and a lot were all the same volume.
We then used some measuring cups, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1. I asked Alex to read what the numbers were and then taught them the correct way to say fractions. I took the half measuring cup and asked how many times they thought I would have to fill it up to be the same as the 1 cup, Lucas got it immediately! I was pleasantly surprised. We then filled it up twice and poured it in the 1 cup measuring cup. We repeated this with the 1/3 and 1/4.

Then we talked about why things float. I had a bunch of different things (metal spoon, plastic spoon, sponge, penny, nickle, paper cup, almost empty paint container) and would hand the kids each one and ask if they thought they would float. Then they threw them in the big water tub to see if they were right.

Next we made our own sail boats. We used empty boxes from stick butter, popsicle sticks, aluminum foil, tape, and colored paper. The kids cut off one big side of each box. We then taped the end of the box that was originally opened to get the butter out. We then wrapped each boat's sides and bottoms in aluminum foil.

(We didn't do it-but I recommend wrapping the inside of the box with foil too)

The kids cut out their sales. We taped the Popsicle sticks and then taped the Popsicle stick inside of the boat to the side as this was easiest.
The kids were delighted that they actually floated.

And since I am trying to let go and just have fun, we even did some water balloons at the end just for fun. Which is when I got really wet... why is it so hard to tie water balloons??

You can always see past Time For Tot's Day Activities Here.


  1. Kids love water, what a great TFT. Looks like fun.

  2. Now that is fun!! Kristin would totally love to take charge of this one. haha. And why is it sooo hard for us to let go and let them have fun. Pat yourself on the back. You did good.

  3. My kids will so loving making these boats. We just have to wait until it's not freezing outside. Please bring your nice weather with you when you come!

    What a cute idea. LOVE IT, as usual!

  4. So you've excluded wet t-shirts from this blog post, ha-ha.

    Looks like a great time.

  5. I'm amazed you got them to learn so much. My son sees water and that is the end of it all!!! How fun!

  6. I love the intensity of their gazes in the "sink or float" picture :)

    AND I loved the smeak peek into California backyards- they look so different than my yard- is that a palm tree?!

  7. Very cute idea for teaching them measuring!

    Lately my 8yr old has been asking me lots of questions about stars, planets and space in general so today I took her to the library to check out a bunch of books and read a couple of them tonight. Once we read some more Im going to do some activities about it with her, so fun!

  8. You have some really great ideas and your follow through is terrific. Are you sure you don't want to come teach first grade with me? I could learn a lot from you.

  9. Another FUN learning experience! Thanks for the warnings! LOL

  10. I am in awe of you and your amazing time for tots days.