I was tasked by the 5-in-a-Row supplement to teach W the following: there exist 12 inches in a foot, 3 feet in a yard, and 5280 feet in a mile (I Googled just now to double-check this last one). In addition, we were tasked with measuring W's height and finding the height of La Girafe.
I decided that the conversion numbers are the least important aspect of this lesson. Foremost is to show that measurements are useful. I asked W how we might build a lid for our stove, and we worked through using the measuring tape to decide where to make cuts in our imaginary lumber (our pretend buzz cutting being the highlight of the lesson).
Next, we thought about other things we might measure or different ways to measure things. I told W about how there are devices that measure distance by how long it takes light to bounce back and forth. We put the same principle into practice by counting how long it took for W to run back and forth. W knew that the longer it took for him to bounce back and forth, the greater the distance.
I also wanted to emphasize that measuring units are fairly arbitrary, so we remembered a past lesson in measuring the house in lengths of W. We created "the crayon" as a unit of weight and talked about how we'd decide how many crayons a book weighed. We also talked about why there are different measures of length: for greater distances, you want a larger unit so that you count in smaller numbers.
This was a great lesson for W because it kept the Daddy lecturing to a minimum in lieu of several small, fun activities.