Longest to Shortest


In the Longest to Shortest activity, the children become familiar with different ways of measuring whilst they are physically active. They practise sorting sticks according to their length.


  1. The children are instructed to find a stick. If you wish to do so, you can emphasise that the stick must be long or short.
  2. Thereafter the children go and sort the sticks according to size together.
  3. After a while, they can be instructed to sort the sticks in another way.
  4. They can also lay the sticks in different ways (at the side of each other, in a long row).
  5. Further, they can use the sticks to measure various objects.


  • As a variation, they can use their bodies to sort according to height. For instance, get the children to line up in a row from the tallest to shortest. To do this, they must measure themselves against others to find out who is the tallest and shortest.
  • They can use their bodies to measure if they are taller or smaller, or longer or shorter, than various objects in the outdoor play area.
  • As a variation, you can measure distance with various aids, for instance, the body, steps or a rope. How many long steps is the sandpit? How many short steps is the sandpit? How many bodies do we need to measure how long the sandpit is?
  • For progression with measuring distance, give the children a rope or anything else that is one metre long. Can you find anything in the outdoor play area that is one metre long? How many metres long is the sandpit? How many metres long is the soft covering under the swings?




0 - 2 years
3 - 5 years


Large space
Small space

Motor skills

Learning areas

Activity type