Non-Standard Measurement: How to Make Bean Rulers and Rainbow Rulers

DIY rulers - How to make non-standard measurement tools (rainbow rulers & bean rulers)for your early childhood classroom. My students will love using these
Non-standard measurement can be bright, colorful, and FUN for your little learners in your classroom. I can't wait to show you how to make rainbow rulers and bean rulers.
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This week I made two kinds of rulers for my preschool classroom...bean rulers and rainbow rulers!

To make the rainbow rulers all you need are markers and wooden rulers.

 Color each inch a different color.  You can make your ruler with any colors you would like!

Color each inch and you are done! 

Rainbow rulers allow my preschool students to measure with real rulers!  Instead of counting the marks on the ruler, they count the color blocks.  This way when they get to elementary school, they are familiar and confident using a ruler!  All they have to learn how to read the marks on the ruler!

To make the bean rulers you will need 1 bag of large lima beans, sharpies, and a roll of wide tape.

1.  Write the numbers on the beans.  This way the numbers will not rub off as your students use the rulers.  It works best to use the large lima beans for your rulers.

2.  Tear off a long piece of tape and place the beans on the tape.  (HINT:  fold over some tape at each end to make it easier to grab)

3.  Fold the bottom tape over the beans.

4.  Fold the top of the tape over the beans.

5.  Squeeze all the air bubbles out and trim the ends.

 **Steps 6 & 7 will make your bean rulers stronger and will last longer!**

6.  Tear off another piece of tape and put the ruler on the tape

7.  Repeat steps 3, 4, and 5

The bean rulers are a great tool to teach non-standard measurement.  My students love using them which is why I had to make more.

Now I have a class set! No more beans wiggling all over the place when we are trying to measure.

DIY rulers - How to make non-standard measurement tools (rainbow rulers & bean rulers)for your early childhood classroom. My students will love using these.

Need more math inspiration? Check out my MATH Pinterest Board!


  1. Your bean ruler idea is so smart!! I teach 1st grade and when we talk about non-standard measurement I have them use lima beans. It is fun, but usually ends up being a mess. This looks like a great way to keep it clean!

    First Grade Stampede

    1. It is great for those kids who struggle with fine motor. The beans are already in a line for them. They can measure without having to struggle with making the beans line up!

  2. I absolutely adore your rulers! So cute and creative!

  3. Love the idea of the rainbow rulers!

    1. Thank you! The colors make the rulers more fun to use!

  4. I have made bean rulers in the past and the kids love them! The colored rulers are genius!! They are great for nonstandard measurement but will make the transition to standard rulers mush smoother. I would have out these in the math center but I will now incorporate the two together. Thanks Jackie:)
    Tammy Wathen
    The Resourceful Apple

  5. Great ideas! Does the marker rub off of the rulers as the kids use them?

    1. My bean rulers numbers rubbed off after about 3/4 years.


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