Fill Your Bucket: Simple Math – Exploring Volume

Suja Sundar

Fill Your Bucket


As a hands-on mom who loves kids activities and enjoys playing and creating with her kids, I immediately thought that the “Fill Your Bucket” concept lent itself into a fantastic math lesson exploring volume and capacity. Here is a simple way to engage your kids in a fun math activity using everyday materials.


• A plastic beach bucket

• Cups of various sizes

• Water in a plastic tub

• Food Color {optional}

Fill Your Bucket: Simple Math - Exploring Volume

I used a small clear storage tub and filled it up with water. Making the water colored simply amped up the fun element. We squirted a few drops of orange food color into the bin. I gave the the kids a big spoon and they enjoyed creating their own colored water.

Fill Your Bucket: Simple Math - Exploring Volume

Then I set out the bucket and all the cups we had around the house. I chose a few containers with different shapes and sizes to make things exciting. You can keep things simple and use disposable paper cups of different sizes.

I made a simple worksheet. You can make your own based on the cups you are using.

I explained to my Kindergartener that we would use different cups to fill up the purple bucket. I also mentioned that she would record her observations so that after the activity she could make some conclusions.

Then it was a lot of scooping up and pouring to fill the bucket using all of the cups.

Fill Your Bucket: Simple Math - Exploring VolumeFill Your Bucket: Simple Math - Exploring VolumeFill Your Bucket: Simple Math - Exploring Volume

Questions to ask/ concepts to discuss

1. Have them make predictions. Compare the cup sizes and have them predict which one will have to be filled up more times to fill up the purple bucket.

2. Why so?

3. Will a smaller cup fill the bucket up faster or will a larger cup make the process go faster?

4. Create equations (if they are ready for it) 1 jar full of water = 2 cups of water

5. Based on the odd shapes, have them guess which one holds more water. A container may look large but might hold less water. (e.g.: the skinny vase surface area vs. volume comparison)

The above are just a few questions you can ask to make this math activity very hands-on.

You can easily extend this activity or simplify based on the age of the child.



Fill Your Bucket: Simple Math - Exploring Volume

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This post was written by Suja Sundar exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Suja is a mother of a preschool girl and a toddler girl who love wildlife, art, messy and pretend play. She started her blog, Blog Me Mom along with her childhood friend and a mom of 2 girls as an outlet from the usual mayhem. We are strong believers of child-directed hands on learning.