Are there days when you run out of ideas, or even the energy, to do a stimulating play activity with toddlers and preschoolers? Did you ever want to set up something so quick using something always readily available in your home? Well, how about doing some of these Measuring Cup Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers? Add a few other items such as water, rice, dry beans, sand or a wooden spoon. And you’ve got yourself an easy to set up, simple play based learning activity for toddlers and preschoolers.
Measuring Cup Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers
There are so many simple, play based learning activities you can do with measuring cups. Here we share 5 of them:
Measuring Cups and a Wooden Spoon
Turn the measuring cups over. Give your toddler or preschooler a wooden spoon. And encourage him to hit the inverted cups. Let your toddler make a drum beat. Or for a preschool aged child, play games like telling him to hit the biggest cup, then the smallest cup. Then even create patterns like: hit the smallest then the biggest. I did this with my 4-year old. And later on, she moved on from following my instructions to counting the cups on her own as she hit the tops: one-two-three-four.
This activity is not only for toddlers and preschoolers. Give the spoon to a baby and encourage him to hit the cups. It’s great for practicing their hand eye coordination.
Measuring Cups and Uncooked Rice (or dry beans or dry pasta)
Put together measuring cups and a dry ingredient, like uncooked rice, dry beans or uncooked pasta. Keep them all contained in a plastic bin. Kids can shift them around using a measuring cup, use one cup to scoop rice and pour onto another cup.
How is this a play based activity?
- Pouring and scooping are excellent fine motor activities.
- It also helps develop a child’s hand-eye coordination.
- Filling cups is also a pre-math skill. Kids experience the concepts of heavy vs light and empty vs full through this simple play based learning activity.
- They also learn about volume. Let your child pour out the contents of 1 cup of rice and compare this with the contents of 1/4 cup of rice. How much more rice is in 1 cup versus 1/4 of a cup?
Measuring Cups and Water
Water play is an excellent sensory activity. Scooping and pouring water using measuring cups also practices hand-eye coordination. It is also a pre-math skill, just like the measuring cups and rice activity. But more than that, kids learn about buoyancy and gravity – that some items float and some sink. They learn cause and effect – that splashing causes water to splatter and swishing will get themselves and their surroundings wet. And best of all, this is an activity that even babies can do.
Measuring Cups and Kinetic Sand
One of my daughter’s favourite sensory play materials now is Kinetic Sand. It is essentially sand that is easier to mold and is less messy. The combination of measuring cups and kinetic sand was my 4-year old’s favourite activity. As with the water and the rice, she loved scooping and filling up the measuring cups with sand. But with kinetic sand, the sand retained its shape as she turned the measuring cups over. So she was able to create ‘towers’ in varying sizes. She then created a bunch of ‘towers’ that formed a circle and said she was making a castle. This simple play activity stimulates their creativity and imagination. After creating the castle, she enjoyed smashing the ‘towers’ and ‘castle’ she made. So much fun! And that in itself was an activity in hand-eye coordination.
Measuring Cups on its own
Toddlers and preschoolers can definitely play with measuring cups on its own as well. Have you ever noticed how toy companies sell stacking or nesting toys in bright bold colours, such as this: The First Years Stacking Up Cups?
If you don’t have a stacking cup toy on hand, let your toddlers and preschoolers use normal kitchen measuring cups for a stacking or nesting activity. Stacking and nesting cups are an excellent play based learning activity. It helps toddlers and preschoolers learn about spatial relationships, it develops fine motor skills, and practices their problem solving skills.
There’s so much fun that can be done with measuring cups. So the next time you’re stuck and out of ideas, simply grab them from your kitchen drawer. Then quickly set up any one of these measuring cup activities for toddlers and preschoolers. You’ll keep your child entertained, while having the piece of mind that she is learning while playing.
This post is a Kitchen Play idea, which is part of the 30 Day Simple Play at Home Blog Hop by Adventures of Adam. Click over to her site to see all the other simple play ideas.
* This post contains affiliate links