• fine motor
• problem solving
• a variety of large geometric shapes made from oak tag paper or poster board (one large shape per child)
• markers, crayons, rubber stamps, and stickers
• clear contact paper
• plastic bags (gallon-size)
Offer each child one large geometric shape. Ask each child to identify his shape. Then ask him to find another child who has the same shape.
Set out the suggested art materials and invite children to decorate their shapes. When finished, invite them to share their work. Cover their finished work with clear contact paper.
Bring the group together the following day and explain that children will turn their shapes into puzzles by cutting each shape into two or three pieces. Help the younger children cut the shapes. Work with older children to divide their shape into three sections. Assist them in cutting the shape.
Give each child his puzzle pieces and ask him to put his geometric shapes together. Then, invite children to place their pieces in labeled reclosable bags. Suggest they trade with a friend and take turns putting their friend’s puzzle together.
Store the shape puzzles in the math area so that children can continue to use them throughout the year.
Food Patterns. Ask parents to create a simple pattern using food such as a square cracker, a round cracker, and a triangle chip. Suggest they offer their child the same items to repeat the same pattern. Depending on the age of the child, they can add more items to make the activity more challenging.
Curriculum Connection: SCIENCE
Sponge Shapes. Cut large sponges into a variety of geometric shapes. Keep the sponges very dry for the activity. Give children the dried sponges to place in a basin of water or a water table. Help them notice how the sponges absorb the water and become softer. As they work with the sponges, encourage them to identify the different shapes. Later use the shapes for sponge painting activities.
Baby Einstein: Puzzling Shapes
by Julie Aigner-Clark
(Baby Einstein, 2002; $7)
Barney’s Book of Shapes
by Mark Bernthal
(Scholastic 1998; $6)
My Very First Book of Shapes
by Eric Carle
(Philomel, 2005; $6)