You know those grow animals that you put in water and watch them expand? They actually have some great uses other than becoming a bloated version of a squishy animal. Today I’ve got a quick little post about using grow animals for teaching measurement and graphing. (Later this week I’ll show you what we did with them later!) Here’s our grow animal math practice.

Grow Animal Math

We picked up this pack of ocean grow animals at Lakeshore. These things fascinate my son for some reason. Anyone else?

When we got home, I brought out the ruler and we practiced measuring each animal. Measurement is such a difficult concept to teach straight from a book. That’s why it’s important for kids to use it in their everyday lives. Measurement shouldn’t just be a chapter in their math books. They need daily practice with inches, centimeters, halves, fourths, and the list goes on.

Next we made a chart and recorded the animal’s name and original size.

Then the animals were ready for their soaking! We kept them in a clear plastic container in the bathroom. The kids kept running in there to check on them.

We measured the puffy creatures the next day to see how long they were.

Measuring Turtle

We recorded the information on our chart and talked about how much it had grown. If I remember correctly most grew by about 1-1.5 inches. We talked about “doubling in size” and compared them by size.

A simple bar graph is helpful for kids to see the growth. If this is too basic, take multiple measurements and plot a line graph to see the change over time.

How much did it grow

This was a really easy way to practice measurement and the kids were so amazed at the ballooning grow animals.

They also shrink back if you leave them out of water, so I let my son grow and shrink them a few more times. Eventually they loose their elasticity… and I’ll tell you what we did with them next in my next post!

I always get excited about inexpensive learning materials. Curriculum can be pricey, but with a little creativity you can do so much on your own. This activity would be a great piece of a unit study. We did an Ocean Unit Study (featuring more measurement practice) that might give you some ideas.

Ocean Unit Study - Interdisciplinary Learning


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