Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shape-ing Up!!

Circles, squares, triangles … there are so many fun projects and games related to shapes – to help your child learn and remember them all!

Play shape “I Spy” to get started – make sure you model a few times how to choose the shape you are highlighting … “I spy, with my little eye, something that is round like a circle ….” Even better, have another adult or older child model the thought process of finding the answer, speaking out loud, guiding your young child through the process. "Hmmm...It can't be the refrigerator - that's not a circle. But, I see a clock that is a circle, maybe that's it." When your child is ready, he/she can jump in! Making an "I-Spy" telescope, decorated with lots of shapes makes it even more fun to search!
Speaking of jumping in, kids LOVE to make shapes with their own bodies! Gather a group of friends and stand facing in, making a circle. An adult can stand on a stepstool and photograph the “shape!” Then, try three friends making a triangle and four making a square – have the children work out how many sides/people are needed for each shape. Photograph each if you’re able – they’re FUN to look at!

If you're doing this with a classroom of kids, divide them into groups of four or five and have them problem-solve - tell them everyone in their groups must be included in one or two shapes!

For an art project, pull together some scraps of construction paper and trace varied shapes for cutting practice. Then, have children choose a few shapes to glue to make a shape picture! Have them first create with no glue, manipulating the shapes into structures, vehicles, people, etc. Then, when they've had some fun with that, they can choose what "picture" they want to make and what shapes are needed. This is great for planning skills, and for practice following directions! Glue the shapes onto larger construction paper and embellish the pictures with markers, crayons or whatever you want! Try practicing the letters in the name of the shape, too!

Use large shapes cut from some durable paper or cardboard to play the "Shape Hokey-Pokey" and add some details about each shape as you go. With one or two children, give them each a variety of shapes or, with a group, hand out shapes in no particular order. Then, standing in a circle, sing and follow the directions....

"Put your circle in, put your circle out, put your circle in and shake it all about...
A circle is a shape that goes round and round, that's what it's all about!
Put your square in, put your square out, put your square in and shake it all about...
A square has four sides that are all the same size, that's what it's all about!
Put your triangle in, put your triangle out, put your triangle in and shake it all about...
A triangle has three sides and three corners, too, that's what it's all about!"

Make up words for more shapes as you go along - and have fun!

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