Family Math Activity: Measuring with Paper Clips and M&Ms

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In this activity, young learners and their caregivers use non-standard tools, like M&Ms and paper clips, to measure things around their home. Learners and caregivers practice measuring, comparing objects, and using descriptive words in this activity. Includes step-by-step instructions with pictures and suggested questions for caregivers, activity extension ideas, and a list of related children's books.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 8

Resource Type:

English, Spanish

Materials List (per student)

  • 1 Bag of M&M’s
  • 3 Small objects to measure ( a picture book, toy car, stuffed animal, etc.)
  • 20 paper clips
  • 3 Index cards
  • 1 Marker or another writing utensil


  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Units of Measurement
      • Size and Scale
    • Number and Operations


Foreign language versions of this resource:

Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Public Media Group of Southern California, 2020