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How Big?

Some things can’t be measured

by Lydia Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider that some important things can’t be measured.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need various objects that need measuring, such as a bag of flour (weight), a hula hoop (circumference) and a cupboard (height or width).
  • You will also need suitable measuring equipment to measure these objects, such as some weighing scales, a ruler and a tape measure.
  • Optional: you may wish to have a means of recording the children’s answers and a globe.


  1. Explain that you are going to need volunteers to help you measure some things.

    Show the objects to the children or tell them what in the room needs measuring.

  2. Explain that you’re going to be measuring several things, but you’re not sure which equipment to use.

    Ask for some help in deciding which equipment to use for each object. Give a few wrong examples such as, ‘Should I use these weighing scales to measure the length of this pencil?’

    Invite some children to the front to carry out the measurements. You may wish to record the results.

  3. Ask the following questions.

    - Have you ever been on a long journey?
    - Have you any idea how far you travelled on that journey?
    - Do you know anyone who has travelled around the world?

    Optional: show the globe.

    Ask the children to guess the circumference of the Earth. (The answer is 40,075 km.)

  4. Ask the children whether they can think of anything else that could be measured.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Ask the children whether they can think of anything that is difficult to measure.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Ask the following questions, pausing after each one to encourage the children to reflect upon their answers.

    - Can love be measured?
    - Can friendship, kindness or helping each other be measured?
    - Even though we can’t measure these things, does that mean that they are not important?

  6. Read Psalm 103.12: ‘For as far as the east is from the west, so great is God’s love for us.’

    Alternatively, you could read Ephesians 3.17-18: ‘I pray that you may grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of God.’

  7. Explain that Christians believe that God loves everybody very much. In fact, the Bible describes God’s love as immeasurable, that is, impossible to measure. Christians believe that God’s love is very great and never ends.

Time for reflection

Encourage the children to think about someone that they love. How can they show that person that they care for them?

Pause to allow time for thought.

Ask the children to think about some other things that can’t be measured, such as kindness, understanding and friendship.

Encourage them to think about how they might show these qualities more today.

Dear God,
Thank you that you gave Jesus to the world.
Thank you that you love us so much.
Please help us to show our love to other people.


‘Dollop’ by Doug Horley, available at: (2.59 minutes long)

Publication date: October 2023   (Vol.25 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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