Jewel strings are a great tool for teaching sizes with pre-k children. Here are some ways to teach kids to compare sizes and measure with non-standard units.
How to Cut the Jewel Strings
My jewel strings were purchased from an educational company (and I had to cut them myself). You could also find inexpensive colored toy bead necklaces in party supply stores to cut and use for these activities. You will need a variety of colors. You will cut each color string so that you have strings with one bead, two beads, three beads, etc., up to ten beads on a string. Make sure that each color has a string of each number of beads.
Jewel String Size Matching
Children take a blue jewel string from the bowl and find a red jewel string of the same length to match. They can check their answer by counting the jewels on each string to see if they are the same. Each blue string has one matching red string.
Jewel String Ordering by Size
This bowl contains only one string of each length, all in one color. Children place them in order by size. They can check their answer by counting the jewels on the strings.