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Estimating Game

The ability to estimate is an important math skill. When practicing how to estimate, kids are learning that math and numbers can be fun. In math, if you know how to estimate pretty well, you can develop an idea about a possible answer to a question without doing a lot of work, and your estimate can let you know if you're on the right track as you are working toward the full solution.

Here is one estimating activity that my kids enjoy:


Choose a container, any container. My kids like to use this Thomas cup. Call it your Standard Unit of Measurement (SUM).

Then gather a bunch of other containers and a big basin of water. (This also works well in the tub, when the kids are getting a bath.)


Choose a container, one at a time, and ask your little scholar:


"Can you estimate how many Standard Units of Measurement it will take to fill this container?"

Then have them see how close they were with their estimate by pouring water from their SUM container into the other container and counting how many times they need to repeat that before the second container is full.


In the beginning the estimates will probably be way off. But after some practice the estimates will become more reasonable.

Vary the activity by switching up the containers. Use the same container for the Standard Unit of Measurement for the first few estimates, but then change it to a different container.

You can also do this activity with sand, if you have a sandbox or easy access to a playground sand pit.

Happy estimating!

Note from Ben: If you'd like to see more posts from Margaret that chronicle her many homeschooling games and activities for our boys, please let us know through any of the rating and feedback modules provided below. Many thanks!


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I would love to see more posts like this!

I know what my 4 year old will be doing tomorrow.

Yes! I'd love to read about your homeschooling activities/adventures!

Excellent, would love to see more! THanks.

Yes! We like to see your fun learning times with the children. Thanks for sharing!

I would love to see more activities that Margaret does with your little ones. Very helpful, indeed, for ideas to keep grandchildren entertained

I love your posts. I love how honest and informative they are. I also decided to homeschool recently and reading your posts about making the decision helped me muster the courage. Thanks.