• By Amanda Blackburn.

5-in-1 Outdoor Measuring tool for children.

Learning Resources sent the 5-in-1 measuring mate for review last week. My son Zac is 8 and is learning measurement at school, the tool for children aged 4+ arrived just in time for his maths homework. Zac had to choose something he wanted to measure and find out the height, width and length in cm and metres. Zac loves the skatepark so we decided to head over to our local skatepark to measure the height and length of the ramps.

The 5-in-one robust tool comes stored in a handy mesh bag with handles for easy storage, it clips together really easily. Zac was able to fit it together himself but younger children may need a little bit of help.

What’s included:

◦ Vertical measure – to measure freestanding objects. ◦ Callipers – to measure the internal and external dimensions of an object. ◦ Trundle wheel – to measure distances featuring a bird ‘footprint’ tread. ◦ Spirit level – to discover whether a surface is level (horizontal) or plumb (vertical) ◦ Measuring stick – showing centimetres and inches to be used as a ruler ◦ Handle/base ◦ Sheet of colourful stickers ◦ Mesh storage bag

Also included is a multilingual activity guide featuring fun ways children can use the Measure-Mate including:

◦ Outdoor Discovery ◦ Knot a problem ◦ Sandy Sleuthing ◦ Following Footprints ◦ Pondering Perimeters ◦ A measure of skill ◦ That’s the spirit ◦ Stick-y Situation ◦ I’m the Ruler I will be taking the children I look after to our local park during the week to get them measuring. The younger children will love making footprints in the sand or mud and following them using the bird footprint tread. I will photograph them using the tool, encourage them to guess what they think the size could be and actually use the tool to find out the correct size. The tool is perfect for my monthly observations of the children.

Measurement tools can help to estimate and actually record the size of things around us. Measurement is important in providing links between strands of mathematics. When you get the children involved in activities they have a greater understanding of what you are teaching them rather than just learning from a textbook. Getting them to perform will help them remember better. It’s also a great way of encouraging creative thinking, what would they like to measure? What can they measure and what tool do they need to measure with? I would definitely recommend this set for making learning measurement more fun. The set is attractive to the eye, lightweight, robust and can easily be carried around when out and about. It’s the perfect tool for all children’s workers.

Here are a few examples of the activities from the activity booklet:

Go and explore the outdoors collecting stones, sticks, and plants. Select one, place it on the base of your Vertical Measure and slowly bring the calliper jaw down to meet the object. Look at the measurement on the stick to see how tall your item is. Do this for the other items you have gathered. Which was the tallest? Which was the shortest? Try estimating how tall an object is and then check to see if you are right.

Take turns leaving a shoeprint in a sandy area such as a sandpit, beach or muddy area. Using your Callipers you can easily measure the size of a foot by extending the Calliper from one end of the print to the other. Make a game of it! Using both the size and pattern of the print can you track down which of your friends left the print? If you’re lucky maybe you’ll even find an animal print to investigate.

There are lots of great ideas for measurement in the activity guide, you can adapt the measuring games to suit your child like I encouraged Zac to measure something that he was interested in. Get them involved with decorating their room, what is the size of their room? What could they fit inside comfortably?

I would like to thank Learning resources for sending the 5-in-1 Outdoor Measure-Mate for us to review. They have so many educational toys available that are reasonably priced, perfect for all childcare settings. As always I have given an honest review, all my thoughts and opinions remain my own.