I have been ‘teaching’ various concepts to my now 22 months old toddler, since he was born. I have read geography books and write down algebraic formulae for him to understand. I have been criticised for the same, but I believe learning something new today is the best way of making today better than yesterday.
I have also introduced basic concepts to him like shapes, numbers, words, phonics, body parts, vehicles and so on. In this post I share with you activities you can do with your toddler or preschooler to teach/reinforce different shapes.
The best way of teaching shapes to kids is integrating them in their daily life and experiences. This can be done by talking to them about the different shapes around them, by pointing out shapes – “look there is a red heart on your shirt”, “would you want to eat a heart, star, circle or a star shaped cookie?” and so on. In this way a child will begin to notice the different shapes in his surrounding in a natural way. These activities then become a way of giving them exposure to learn more in a fun play way.
#1. Hunting for shapes in a Sand Box
I have seen and read about creating a stimulating sand box to teach different concepts like shapes, numbers, colour and letters. Creating your own sand box to teach shapes is quite easy. Take a box-like plastic or wooden container to turn it into a sand box. Cut out a white paper to fit easily and the bottom of your box.
Draw and colour different shapes on the sheet in an aligned manner. Place the sheet at the booth of the container and cover it with enough sand.
Hand a paint brush to your toddler and encourage him to sweep the sand away and find different shapes beneath.
#2 Make shapes out of play dough
Kids love play dough and so do adults, we use moulds to make different animals and birds out of play dough. You can also make shapes out of it and encourage the child to name them. Gradually you can ask the child to cut out the shape himself.
#3 Foam Painting
If you have a sheet of foam, you can cut it into different shapes, I got a pack of ready made foam cut outs in different shapes from Landmark store. Paint one side these to foam and make stamps. Encourage your toddler to dip his fingers into the paint and create different stamps with different shapes.
Painting different shapes in different colours is a fun way of learning shapes. Since my son is prefers painting with his hands and fingers over brushes, I outline different shapes on a sheet with finger paint and allow him to fill in matching colours.
#5 Sorting household objects
You would find different objects with varied shapes around your house. Collect a few of them in a basket or a tray and sort them out based on their shape.
#6 Make shapes out of craft sticks/ ice cream candy sticks
Paint the craft sticks into different colours, and make shapes with colourful sides with them. We use rope and colourful bangles for shapes like semi circle, circle and heart.
#7 Chalk out shapes
Hand over a chalk stick to your child and ask him to draw different shapes. We do this on a slate or in an open ground.
#8 Paint on balloons
I have already mentioned painting shapes in a book or on a sheet of paper, but finger painting shapes on a balloon is so much more fun.
#9 Make shapes out of Q tips
My son found q tips in a drawer once and was fascinated with these thin sticks. He picked up a few of them and kept running around the house. I then encouraged him to make shapes out of it. At this age, he does need my help to get the symmetry right. But claps his excited once a shape is made out of q tips.
#10 Matching Shapes
Draw and colour different shapes in your child’s art book or on a sheet of paper. Make card board cut out of different shapes. Ask the child to match the cut out with the correct shape in the book.
Other fun ways of teaching shapes would be – sorting buttons based on their shape, reading books about shapes, making Velcro cut outs of shapes, get a Lego set, paste a shapes chart in your child’s room or on a wall in his play place, trace shapes using coloured tape on the floor or on paper, invest in toys that help in learning shapes and brainstorm to build your own interesting ways of teaching shapes.