Measurement Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:04 What Is Measurement?
  • 0:29 Standard & Non-Standard
  • 1:04 How to Measure
  • 2:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Carla Palomino
Expert Contributor
Jamie Lawton

Jamie has a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northeastern University and has taught college chemistry.

It would be hard to imagine a world where you didn't know if you were going too slow or too fast or if you were tall or short. You will learn what measurement is and how to measure things in this lesson.

What Is Measurement?

Measurement is the action of measuring something. We can measure time, weight, height, temperature, length, speed, and more. If we didn't have measurement, it would be very hard to know when to go to school, how much you weigh, or how cold or warm it is outside.

Life is so much easier when we know how to measure things, and that is why measurement is so important. Now let's learn about the units we use to measure things.

Standard & Non-Standard

Standard units are the common units used to measure something specific. We all need to speak the same language to understand each other, so we use hours, minutes, and seconds to measure time; ounces and pounds to measure weight; degrees to measure temperature; and inches and feet to measure length or height.

Non-standard units are random items that people choose to measure with. For example, I can use a paper clip to measure my notebook or yarn to measure my brother's height. I can use my hands to know if something is heavier or lighter, and I can use my fingers to measure my friend's arm. You get the idea.

How to Measure

Let's take a look at how to measure different things using standard and non-standard units.

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Additional Activities

Fun With Measurements


Find a ruler that has inches marked on one side of the ruler and centimeters marked on the other side of the ruler. Look for the 1-centimeter mark on the ruler. Is it closer to the edge or farther from the edge of the ruler than the 1-inch mark? Measure the length of your hand in inches. Measure the length of your hand in centimeters. Which number is bigger? Remember, your hand has not shrunken or grown. The difference in the numbers is because the "units of measurement" are different!


Find some measuring cups and tablespoons in the kitchen. A cup is a unit of volume, which describes how much space something takes up. You might find in your kitchen a 1 cup, a half cup, a third of a cup and a quarter cup. Fill a bowl with water. See how many quarter cups of water are needed to fill the 1 cup measuring cup. Repeat this with a third of a cup and the half cup. If you have a tablespoon, count how many tablespoons of water are needed to fill the quarter cup. A tablespoon is usually one-sixteenth of a cup.

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