Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
and Home Child Care Providers

CME Group Community Foundation



Run, Walk, Crawl

Children will measure the time it takes to move quickly versus moving slowly.

Content Area Standard Target
  • Measurement
  • Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement
  • Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements
  • Recognize the attributres of length, volume, weight, area, and time
  • Compare and order objects according to these attributes
  • Understand how to measure using nonstandard and standard units
  • Use tools to measure
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
  • Clock, wristwatch with seconds hand, or a stopwatch
  • Large gross motor area
  • Paper with clipboard or notebooks for recording
  • Pencils, markers or pens for recording

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
  1. Place two markers (this can be pieces of tape, blocks, anything that can mark beginning and end) on the floor a good distance apart.
  2. Stand on or at one of the markers.
  3. Ask: "If I were to travel from here to over there (point to the other marker), would I get there faster if I ran or faster if I walked?" "What would be faster: walking or crawling?" "Crawling or running?" "Running or skipping?"
  4. Ask: "What other ways can we travel from one point to the next?" (Children may suggest hopping, army crawling, tumbling, etc.)
  5. Using children's suggestions, have them compare two ways and identify which one they think will be faster or which one will be slower.
  6. Show children the stop watch or clock with second hand and help them identify how it measures time in seconds.
  7. Let the children hold the large clock or stopwatch and explore it themselves. Count “1,2,3..etc. if a stopwatch is not available. Teach the children how to count using this method and explain that each number represents one second of time.
  8. Ask: "What two ways do you want to measure me traveling?"
  9. Use the two ways children chose. For example if the children choose run and crawl, run from one marker to the next marker while the children watch the clock to measure the seconds or count aloud, and then record the time. Then, crawl while the children watch the clock to measure seconds or count aloud, and then record the time.
  10. Ask: "Which way was faster?" "Which way was slower?"
  11. Tell children, "Now it is your turn."
Engage the children Engage the Children
  1. Put the children in pairs and tell them they will take turns measuring each others' times for the different ways they will travel from one point to the next.
  2. Have each child pick 3 ways they want to travel.
  3. Tell the children that one child should travel while the other child measures time in seconds and records. Have the children switch roles.
  4. Ask the children to put the ways of traveling in order from slowest to fastest.
  5. Have the children share their findings with the group.
  6. Ask the children follow up questions, such as:
    • “Why does it take longer when we crawl?”
    • “Why does it take shorter when we run?”
    • “Is it faster to walk than crawl?"
    • “Is it slower to walk than run?”
    • “How long did it take?”
    • "How much longer did it take to crawl versus walking?"
Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
  • Time – The measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues
  • Longer than – Having an extended duration of time comparatively
  • Shorter than – Having less time comparatively
  • Length of time The extent or duration

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Make adaptations Make Adaptations

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Have difficulty varying the speed of travel.
  • Not be able to think of other ways to travel.
  • Not travel a direct route each time.
  • Not be able to use all functions on a stop watch.
  • Not be able to read a cock or count.
Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Not travel the same route each time.
  • Not be able to use all functions on a stopwatch accurately.
  • Not be able to record the data accurately.
  • Want to have races to compete with one another and record times.

Home child care providers may:

  • Separate the younger children from the older children and play at separate times.
  • Give the directions slowly with repeated reminders of the rules.
  • Provide a line for child to travel along.
  • Assist in measuring time using stop watch.


Home child care providers may:

  • Provide a line for child to travel along.
  • Assist in measuring time using stop watch.
  • Need to record times for children.


Books Books
  • Red Light Green Light by Anastasia Suen and Ken Wilson-Max (Fairbanks: Gulliver Books, 2005)
  • Red, Stop! Green, Go! by P.D. Eastman (New York: Random House, 2004)
Music and movement Music and Movement


Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
  • Using the big clock or a stopwatch, time the children doing various activities outside (running from one end of the playground to the other, swinging ten times back and forth, etc.).
  • Play “Red Light, Green Light” using the different ways of traveling. Have children take turns being the leader.


Explore links Web Resources




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