Learning About Volume With Boxes

Ideal for Toddler

Drawing of a chemistry beaker, blue and purple gears, and measuring tape.

This activity promotes development and learning by encouraging children to demonstrate an understanding of spatial sense.

Materials Needed:

  • Boxes or containers of various sizes
  • Common household items that you have in quantity, such as drinking straws, paper clips, or spoons

Participants: This activity is intended for adult/child interaction.


  1. Show your child the boxes and one household item. Ask, “How many straws (or whatever the object is) can you put in this box? How about this one? Or this one? I wonder why more straws fit in this box than this one.”
  2. Continue experimenting with the remaining objects. Use vocabulary, such as more, less, empty, and full.
  3. Try this activity with plastic containers and water. Why can some containers hold more liquid than others? This activity helps children begin to understand concepts of volume and spatial relations.

Learn More: Offer your child two or three medium to large boxes to crawl in. Why do some of the boxes fit better than others?

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