So I just finished my K-2 Common Core math class and here is one of the tools we learned about. Measuring with small sticky notes. When measuring smaller things it was great but got harder as the items got bigger. Here's where the cool part comes in...you put the sticky notes together to create a paper ruler. The students can see why it's important to have different size measuring tools and why it's easier to measure and count larger things with a bigger tool.
The patterned sticky notes make the units easier to see. The students can make them as big as they need to. I just used a piece of construction paper. Another cool thing about sticky notes is that they can be folded in half, unlike blocks so you can get more of an exact measurement and talk a little about fractions as well. This will help the students out tremendously when they start learning about standard measurement in second grade.