Shape recognition is a basic math skill that will greatly benefit your child as she moves into the kindergarten classroom. Disguise a lesson focused on these important shapes as a special holiday art project, and she won't even realize she's learning! This shape collage featuring St. Nick himself is a simple (yet educational) art activity that will encourage your young child to identify shapes, explore the part to whole relationship, and experiment with an artistic process!
What You Do:
- Create shape templates for your child. Include a circle for Santa’s head, a square for his body, a triangle for his hat, and thin rectangles for his arms and legs. Before beginning this art activity, help your child identify each shape by name.
- Ask your child to trace your shapes onto her own paper using a pencil or crayon.
- Help your child cut the shapes out using children’s scissors.
- Invite her to arrange the shapes onto a separate sheet of paper in the form of Santa’s body. Explain that this part of the project is similar to putting together a puzzle; she will need to mix and match the different shapes together to create his body!
- When she has the body parts arranged correctly, she can gently lift up each shape and glue it to the paper.
- Invite your child to use markers to create eyes, a nose, a mouth, and buttons for Santa’s suit. Have her glue cotton balls onto Santa’s face for the beard and on top of his hat.
After completing this activity, encourage your child to continue building her shape recognition skills! Introduce more shapes such as ovals and octagons, and challenge her to create new and different collages with them.
Erica Loop has a MS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education. She has many years of teaching experience working in early childhood education, and as an arts educator at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.