Measuring growth on a growth chart: why it’s a good numeracy activity
A homemade growth chart is a great way to develop your child’s early numeracy skills. That’s because children find maths and numeracy concepts like height and measurement easier to understand when they can relate them to something real – like themselves.
When you put your child’s growth chart somewhere easy to see, like a doorway or the hall, your child is reminded of these early numeracy concepts every time they walk past.
What you need for a growth chart numeracy activity
Growth charts are easy to make. You can draw a chart on a wall or doorframe, or make a paper chart.
For charts drawn on a wall or door, you need a:
- tape measure
For paper growth charts, you need:
- a tape measure
- glue or sticky tape
- crayons, pencils or paints, stickers and other things for decoration.
How to do a growth chart numeracy activity
First, make your growth chart with your child.
There are two ways to make a simple growth chart on a wall or doorway:
- Use a tape measure to measure people’s heights against the wall or doorway, and mark the heights in pencil directly on the wall or doorway.
- Write people’s names and the date on strips of paper and stick them on the wall at the appropriate height. This is good if you don’t want to write on the wall.
Or you and your child can make a paper growth chart together:
- Join paper into one long strip. Help your child mark the correct measurements along one edge, or you could glue a long tape measure to one side.
- Encourage your child to decorate the chart. Just make sure your child leaves room for marking people’s heights.
- Mark people’s measurements on the chart.
Next, talk about the heights on the growth chart. Who is the tallest? Who is the shortest? Can your child order everyone in the family by height?
Come back to the growth chart every few months and measure people again. Talk about what has changed. Who has grown taller? Who has grown the most? Who has stopped growing?
Children should take care with self-retracting tape measures. They can be fun, but the edges are dangerous when they retract quickly.
Adapting a growth chart numeracy activity for children at different stages
Younger children might find it hard to understand the numbers on a tape measure. Here’s what you can do:
- Mark your child’s height and your height on the wall chart. Show your child the difference.
- Put your hand on the top of your child’s head and show your child how the line on the chart is the same height.
- Say something like, ‘This is how tall you are. And look – this line up here is how tall I am’.
Older children might be able to read the tape measure to measure a younger sibling’s height. You could also help them stand on a safe stool or stepladder to measure the height of someone taller.