ICS Early Years Center Blog

Inter-Community School Zurich, Switzerland

Exploring Measurement in Nature


sticks 1Stick 3 2

Collecting and playing with sticks is invariably a favourite pastime for the children in EY. The teacher used this natural curiosity and affinity to invite the children to explore and explain their understandings related to the mathematical concept of ‘Measurement’.

During a Waldkinder session the teacher invited the EY1 children to each collect a stick. A challenge was then posed:

‘Can we arrange the sticks in order from longest to shortest?’

This task offered the children the opportunity to identify items that can be measured. They were able to listen to the ideas of others and develop their own understanding of how measurement involves the comparison and ordering of objects. We observed as the children worked with excited enthusiasm collaborating with each other to identify, compare and describe attributes of these real objects to complete the challenge.

Stick 4 (2nd)P1170913Stick 5 (2nd) P1170916

Photographs by Rebecca Smith (EY Teacher ICS)

Author: Rebecca Smith

Early Years Teacher. International Schools. Reggio Inspired. IB PYP.  Apple Distinguished Educator 2010. Level 3 Forest School Leader 2016. Learner. Traveler. Reader. Australian. Tea lover.


  1. What super photos and, of course, a great choice of activity. By the looks of things, the children really engaged with the challenge.

    Hope all’s well with you and your outdoor work is flourishing.

    • Thank you for reading and for your comment Juliet! We love to make connections with people who are also doing great things in nature with children.

  2. This is a fantastic activity! I love the inquiry into measurement but also the potential for exposure to comparatives: big bigger biggest, long longer longest – ideal for this age range to begin to understand the concept of comparisons with a view to eventually using the words to match.
    Annabel, School Speech and Language Therapist

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