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Family Math Activity: How Far Can You Toss a Squishy Sponge Bomb?

family math activity kids sponge bomb
Who knew this sponge bomb could be such a good measuring tool? | Yesenia Prieto
In this outdoor activity, you will help your child compare and measure with a fun game for the whole family.
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Esta actividad está disponible en esapñol.

Young children use measurement in many of their everyday activities. They compare objects by weight, height, length or capacity and use words like “bigger,” “shorter,” or “longer” to make comparisons between objects. In this activity, you'll help your child compare and measure with an outdoor game that's fun for the whole family.

Learning Goal

This activity will help your child:

  • Understand that everything around them can be measured
  • Practice measurement skills and make fair comparisons


  • 3 sponges of different colors
  • Scissors
  • Hair-tie or rubber band
  • Bucket of water
  • Chalk

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Cut each sponge into three long rectangular strips. Tip: Wet the sponges and squeeze the water out to make them easier to work with.

2. Lay three rectangular strips of different colors side by side. Stack another three rectangular strips on top. Repeat one more time. You should have three stacks of three rectangular sponge strips.

3. Next, use the rubber band to tie the stacks of rectangular sponge strips together on the center. Now, you have a sponge bomb!

family math activity kids sponge bomb
The bomb is made out of strips of sponge. | Yesenia Prieto

4. Fill your bucket with water. Take 10 steps away from your bucket, counting out loud each step. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 steps.” Mark this place as your starting point (you can use the chalk) and try to toss your sponge bomb into the bucket.

5. Time to measure! How far did you throw your sponge bomb? Did it hit the water bucket? Mark your sponge bomb location with a rock or stick and measure the distance with your footsteps. One step, two steps, three steps away? How many more steps would you need to take to hit the bucket?

family math activity kids sponge bomb
Make each water splat count! | Yesenia Prieto

6. Go again! Throw the sponge bomb from the starting point and mark how far you tossed it. Now compare. Ask your child, "Did your sponge bomb go farther or closer?" "Was this throw bigger or smaller?" "How do you know?" Repeat as many times as you want. You can mark your attempts with the chalk.

Keep the Conversation Going

  • Compete with friends and family to see who can throw the farthest and shortest and who can hit the target.
  • Use a tape measure or a ruler to measure how far you can throw your sponge bomb, then record your distance in a graph.
  • For a more colorful time, use washable paint instead of water and measure your paint splotches.

Book Suggestion

How Big is Big? How Far is Far? All Around Me” (Ages 5-6)
Written by Little Gestalten and illustrated by Jun Cen

“How Big is Big? How Far is Far? All Around Me,” written by Little Gestalten and illustrated by Jun Cen
“How Big is Big? How Far is Far? All Around Me,” written by Little Gestalten and illustrated by Jun Cen

Corresponding Standards
California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics

  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.1Describe measurable attributes of objects, such as length or weight. Describe several measurable attributes of a single object.
  • CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.K.MD.A.2 Directly compare two objects with a measurable attribute in common, to see which object has "more of"/"less of" the attribute, and describe the difference. For example, directly compare the heights of two children and describe one child as taller/shorter.

Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework

  • Goal P-MATH 8. Child measures objects by their various attributes using standard and non-standard measurement. Uses differences in attributes to make comparisons.

California Preschool Learning Foundations

  • Measurement 1.0: Children expand their understanding of comparing, ordering, and measuring objects.
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