Royal Measuring Wand

Here's your nightly math! Just 5 quick minutes of number fun for kids and parents at home. Read a cool fun fact, followed by math riddles at different levels so everyone can jump in. Your kids will love you for it.

Royal Measuring Wand

October 29, 2014

Long ago, a foot was not 12 inches, but rather the actual length of the king’s foot. Of course, that meant when there was a new king, there would be a new definition of the length of a foot. Over time people realized it made sense to standardize measurements, but wouldn’t it be neat for your child to have a personal measuring system? Make a royal measuring wand for that very purpose.

No need to stick to just measuring feet. In fact, if you measure a bunch of parts, you’ll learn some interesting things about your body:

  • Which is longer – your palm or your face from your hairline to your chin?
  • Which is thicker – your knee or your neck?
  • Is your waist measurement longer than the distance from your neck to your waist line?

Make a Royal Measuring Wand


  • A variety of colorful ribbons
  • Measuring tape
  • A stick or dowel rod about one foot long
  • White glue or glue dots

You can start by answering the questions above. Discuss the start and end point for each measurement and measure this body part with a ribbon. Cut a ribbon of one color for one body part and a ribbon of another color for the second body part. Lay them against each other and measure which one is longer.

Hold the ribbons next to the measuring tape and note the conventional length of each.

Attach the ribbons near the tip of the dowel rod with glue or glue dots for a whimsical royal measuring wand.

Invent silly comparison questions of your own or let children of different ages compare different body parts against each other trying to find body parts of the same size. For example, my palm is as long as your foot!

You may notice certain patterns based on ratios found in the human body. For example, a person’s height is typically 3 times the circumference of her head.

Now get really silly. Roam your royal kingdom (your house or backyard) and measure things like:

How many legs long is your bed?

How many heads high is your table?

How many royal feet long is your kitchen?

If your little king or queen is ready for a big challenge, do the math to translate those measurements into feet or meters.

Measuring has never been so personal and yet so fun!

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About the Author



Natalie is a system engineer by education and a program manager for a big technology company in Silicon Valley. She was born and raised in the Soviet Union and always enjoyed math challenges and math Olympiads. Now she is trying to instill the same love of math in her daughter through books, math talks, and fun projects involving engineering and math. Natalie blogs at Planet Smarty Pants and can also be found on Pinterest.

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