Shapes are all around us, and young kids love learning about them! Life gives us plenty of excuses to talk about shapes. For example, as you're driving, you can point out the circle roundabout, the rectangular parking space, or the octagon stop sign. When you go for a walk, ask your child what shape the bricks on a neighbor's house are made of, or talk about the triangle that is their roof.
And when your child is itching for a game, consider ditching Hide and Seek in favor of Shape and Seek. Here's how it works:
What You Need:
- 5-10 pieces of construction paper, all in the same color
What You Do:
- Using the construction paper, cut out squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles. (Once your child masters these, you can add on some more difficult shapes, like diamonds, hexagons, and octagons.). While you may be tempted to break out a rainbow of paper choices, resist! Keeping all shapes the same color helps kids focus their attention on the shape itself, rather than the color from which it's made.
- Ask your child to cover her eyes and count to 20. In the meantime, take your pile of shapes and tape them around the house. When she opens her eyes, send her off to find one particular shape. When she's got them, move on to the other shapes, one by one, until she's found them all.
- Fair's fair. Now it's your turn to hunt. Collect all the shapes and hand them over. Close your eyes and give your child the chance to hide them from you. When time's up, ask your child to assign you a shape. Pretend to need reminders of what each shape looks like before you find it. Ask questions like, "How many sides does a triangle have, again?" or "Is the square the one with four equal sides, or is that the rectangle?" Having your child teach you about the shapes will reinforce the concepts. Plus, she'll feel great being able to help you learn something for a change!
- Once your child begins to do this with ease, you can add a guessing game element to the mix. Give clues rather than naming the shape outright. For example: "I am thinking of a shape that has 4 equal sides." And when the hunting is done, head on over to the kitchen for some shape snacking. You can cut sandwiches into circles with a cookie cutter, or the back of a glass. Or pick shapes ready to eat as-is (cookies or sliced carrots make great circles, crackers often come in squares or rectangles...) If you can't find things in the cupboard it might be time to take your shape hunt to the next location.... the grocery store!
Andie McConnell has taught a wide variety of grades at charter, private and public schools over the past eight years. She holds a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction, and is the proud mom of a preschooler.