I love teaching kids about math shapes. I think it's because when I was a preschooler I used to try and see the 'shape' of things around me. Trees, stop signs, flowers, cars, whatever I saw I classified in my mind according to its geometrical shape.
When playing these math shape games, keep in mind the following shapes:
Preschoolers who master the understanding of math shapes are able to:
1. Recognize and name the shapes.
2. Classify the shapes (e.g. circle with circle, square with square).
3. Describe the shapes (e.g. a circle is round, a square has 4 straight sides).
Do you know the game, for example, "I spy with my little eye something that is red?" Now that your child already knows their colors, you can change it to a shape: "I spy... something that is a triangle!"
Hide an item in a dark bag. Let your child feel the item through the bag and describe it to you. It is a round smooth object that is larger than a golf ball. If your child is just asking all these new descriptive words it is a good idea for you to let the child feel the item while you describe it for them. Can they guess what it is?
Kids love to use their body and to move around. Use different body parts to create a shape. Use your whole arm to draw a circle in the air. Now use your elbow to draw a circle in the air. What about your head?? Can you draw a square with your foot on the floor?
Instead of using one body part to 'draw' a shape with, transform your whole body into a square, e.g. a triangle, a circle, etc.
Get your preschooler to follow your instructions and tell them to lie down straight, stand up straight, curve their back, have their back flat like a table and so on...
Sort objects from around the house with your child according to their shape. Describe the similarities between the items. For example, CD cases have straight sides that are all the same. What do you call that shape? DVD cases have straight lines but they are not all the same length. How do you call this shape? CDs and DVDs are made out of a curved line...
I remember that as a child I enjoyed looking at items from different directions. A water bottle from the front looks like a rectangle but if you look at it from the bottom it is a circle! Now we are beginning to get into volumes, i.e. 3D shapes.
This game can be played at home or in class. Cut out math shapes and tape them on your shirt. Perhaps your preschooler would like to help you cut them out.
You are the math shape you are 'wearing'. My son, who loves imaginary games, loves calling us circle mommy and triangle daddy instead of just plain old mommy and daddy. You can also add big, small, and colours into the mix. In class, you can direct the children and say "circle tap a square" so that all the children wearing circles need to find a square.
Every pot has it's cover and so does every box and plastic container. Put out various sizes and shapes of pots and containers and see if your child can match them up.
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