Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity -

*The required FTC disclosure: Awesome news here—I am now a Better Beginnings ambassador! I do get paid to write an article for them once a month, but the best thing is that I get to learn, and in turn share with you, great information about how kids learn and helping them learn through play. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I believe in the mission of Better Beginnings.

Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

I write a lot about hands-on learning and all the ways we do that in our home, but I have neglected to write about the way that all children learn, whether they have special needs or not, especially in the early years. They learn through play!

Princess Roo and her kitchen -

I was reminded of this last week when my younger daughter brought me a small plastic pot with a plastic hamburger patty and bun inside. They were stuck, and she had already broken several toothpicks in an attempt to dislodge them, and the hamburger patty also had a significant gouge from a pen. I used a butter knife to get both items out of the pot and briefly explained to her that something that is almost exactly the same size as the container she’s putting it in is likely to get stuck. She nodded, took the toys, and went back to her play kitchen.

Food doesn't fit in container -

I was fascinated moments later to realize that she was still playing in the kitchen, but this time she had several different pots and pans out and more plastic food items. She was putting different food items into various containers, testing to see which ones were big enough to hold the food, how much they could hold, and which food items would fit in which containers.

Learning size and capacity through play -

I was reminded of the times when she was younger when she would play in the bathtub until her fingers and toes wrinkled and the water got cold, pouring water into and out of various containers, seeing how many times she would have to pour one cup into another to fill it up, pouring everything out again, and starting over.

Then it hit me. Children learn about size and capacity through play! I also realized that, because she’s older, I don’t give my daughter enough time to explore these concepts through play, even though she still struggles with them during math assignments.

I would have missed this revelation that will help me teach my daughter more effectively if I hadn’t just heard the Better Beginnings philosophy explained. Better Beginnings wants families to realize that learning often looks much different from the textbooks and workbooks we were given. Children in Better Beginnings programs don’t bring home worksheets. They spend their days in hands-on exploration, and much of it looks just like . . . play!

Children learn as they play quote -

While Better Beginnings provides a ratings system for child care programs (both in-home and day care centers) in Arkansas, they offer resources and information about child development that are helpful to anyone who cares for children! Be sure to visit their website and social media channels for more information.

Are you in Arkansas? Want to know more about the Better Beginnings program? Here’s a video that explains it:

Other articles in the Learning Through Play series:

Back to Basics: Learning Through Play -

This entry was posted in Back to Basics: Learning Through Play, Homeschool, Parenting, Special Needs. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Back to Basics: Learning Size and Capacity

  1. Lori V says:

    Awesome post. Nice to know someone else realizes this too.

    • Thanks! I think it’s something many parents and caregivers know. We just don’t think about it—or in the pressure of trying to make sure our kids have a solid academic foundation, we forget.

  2. Sarah Shotts says:

    Yes! There are so many learning opportunities in play. I did a lot of reading on this in my graduate program (Applied Drama.)

  3. Great points! I remember doing this as kids. Also, shows like Electric Company and Zoom! (wow I’m old), would show something and then my brother and I would race outside and try it ourselves. Nothing beats hands-on learning, unless it’s hands-on learning while playing. :-)

  4. Great points and sounds like a great program! We are a homeschooling family and have found if we can make learning fun, they are more engaged and retain so much more information. You really can turn almost any situation into a learning experience!

  5. Great post! I love how it is a reminder that even older kids can learn through play.

  6. Jamie says:

    Yes! I love this. As I learn more, I’m a big supporter of play therapy and play learning. I wish they had more of a chance to do it in school.

    • I wish they did too, Jamie! It’s amazing how much kids can learn while playing, and when they have supportive adults nearby to encourage them and assist and explain when necessary, it’s an amazing way to learn!

  7. Kids learn so much more when they can experience something instead of just reading about it in school. Having fun while learning is a great bonus and it’s amazing to see how their minds work to problem solve.

  8. Beth says:

    Thank you for that reminder. I need to remember at times that play is part of learning.

  9. Rebecca says:

    Children learn through play – even the ones who are all grown up. I’ve been reminded of that this year, as well. Thanks for helping so many families come back home to simple ways of learning that truly grow a child’s intellect and desire to grow in knowledge and truth.

    • Thank you for the kind words, Rebecca! I’m passionate about us returning to letting our kids be kids! Doing more learning through play is a great step in the right direction.

  10. Susan Evans says:

    Kids really do learn through play. When they do hands-on activities, they have far greater retention of the material they are trying to learn!

    • I completely agree! I have become a huge supporter of hands-on learning and learning through play since I realized that that’s how my younger daughter learns best. I believe hands-on learning is great for all kids but is especially critical for those with special needs.

  11. Kelly says:

    Thank you for the reminder! I think sometimes we, as parents do get wrapped up into worksheets and textbooks but children do learn better as they play! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Adults learn through play, too! :)


    • They do! I taught myself to crochet by watching YouTube videos, looking at books and magazines, and doing hands-on learning! It has been a lot of fun and has turned into a relaxing hobby.

  13. kimberly says:

    I totally agree :) Great info

  14. I love watching children discover concepts like this through their play! This sounds like a great program!

  15. Pingback: A Typical Homeschool Day 2014-15 - Jennifer A. Janes

  16. ChristyM says:

    Great observation. It’s too easy to just tell kids the answers and think they have learned.

  17. Pingback: Playground Safety for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder - Jennifer A. Janes

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