• geometric shape awareness
• following directions
• spatial vocabulary
• geometric pattern blocks (two of each shape separated into plastic bags, one for each child)
Invite children to sit in a circle so all can see you. Hold up different shapes of pattern blocks and see if children can name them. Continue with the other shapes, asking the name of each one.
Next, pass out a bag of shapes to each child. Allow time to explore and discuss the various shapes.
Create a simple design using two blocks. Explain what you made in the picture using the correct term for the geometric shape. For example, say, “I used a triangle and a square.” Invite children to look at the design for a few seconds without touching their blocks.
Then, invite them to make the design on their own by selecting the blocks that were used to make the design. Ask them if their designs look like yours. What shapes did they use?
Continue to make pictures for them to copy. Increase the difficulty of the design each time. Be sure to repeat the same directions and process for each design. When children are familiar with the game, pair them up to take turns designing and trying to replicate each new creation.
Remember: Children move through stages of understanding spatial relationships and developing geometric thinking skills. They need to have many experiences and participate in lots of different activities to grasp these concepts. Most children will need ample time for experimenting and exploring.
Go on a Shape Hunt. Suggest that parents invite their child to hunt for shapes around the house. They can create a list of the different items at home that represent a shape. Invite parents to help their child draw and
label the items they identify. Children will begin to see that shapes can be found all around them. Bring children together the next day to share their work and see what they have in common in their homes.
Curriculum Connection: MATH
Make toothpick shape pictures! Pass out toothpicks and glue. Invite children to make a square, a triangle, and a rectangle with the toothpicks and then glue them on a piece of paper. Ask: “What kind of lines make up these shapes? Why can’t we make a circle or a heart?” Invite children to look around the classroom and find shapes that match their own toothpick shapes.
Counting in the Garden
by Kim Parker
(Scholastic, 2005; $17)
Grandfather Tang’s Story
by Ann Tompert
(Dragonfly Books, 1997; $7)
The Secret Birthday Message
by Eric Carle
(HarperCollins, 1986; $7)