Concepts About Shapes
As preschoolers learn about shapes, they can develop visual discrimination skills, learning to see the differences between two images. Visual discrimination is important as a pre-reading skill; preschoolers will need to recognize the difference between letters and combinations of letters (words) as they begin to read (and write). This particular activity can help preschoolers begin to recognize the differences of shapes and the characteristics of a particular shape. They can build vocabulary, such as shape names (circle, square, rectangle, triangle) and parts of shapes (side, corner). They can also practice comparing (finding similarities) and contrasting (noticing differences).
Make a Mouse
Our mouse was made out of a section of an old cereal box. (I love to upcycle boxes whenever we can.) Cut out a simple teardrop shape and two round ear shapes. Outline the mouse’s ears and body with a black marker to make them stand out. Glue ears in place and add eyes and a nose.
Attach a long yarn tail through a hole punched at the back of the mouse‘s body. We tied a double a knot in one end of the yarn to make sure the tail would stay on during the exploration.
Encourage your children to make their own mice. Assist with cutting shapes or tying yarn as needed.
Shape Exploration for Kids
We used a set of small wooden blocks for our exploration. If you don’t have wooden blocks available you could use one of the following items:
- foam blocks
- various shaped household objects
- chenille craft stems twisted in a basic shapes
- styrofoam shapes
Scatter the shapes on a tabletop or the floor. Encourage children to explore the shapes, holding them, tracing around the outside lines, or sorting them. Spread the shapes back on the table (as needed). Call a shape. Invite a child to move the mouse to that shape and wrap the tail around it. Then he can all a shape for another child (or you) to find.
Look through the book and find the shapes that the mice find. Assemble the shapes to make other things (as the mice did in the book).
Originally we tried holding the end of the mouse’s tail to the shape and wrapping the tail around the shape. We found that the end of the tail didn’t stay in place. It tended to unwrap and follow the rest of the yarn around the shape.
Placing the shape in the center on the mouse’s tail and then wrapping one end of it around the shape tended to work better for us. The yarn stayed in place and the yarn shape’s corners stayed pointed. They didn’t become rounded.
Thinking Questions About Shapes
- How many sides does each shape have?
- How many corners does each shape have?
- Which shapes were easiest to wrap the yarn around? Why?
- Which of the blocks have different shapes on some of their sides?
- What blocks can be put together to make a new shape?
You could invite children to illustrate the answers to the question on paper or whisper answers to a friend.
For an additional challenge, find larger shapes around your classroom or house. Move the mouse to a large rectangle (door), circle (clock), or square (table). Examine an object and identify the shapes; a toy car may have rectangles, triangles, and circles on it.
This shapes activity could be done in a one-on-one setting, a small group, or as a center. Enjoy exploring the shapes with your mouse!
BIO: Deirdre is the author of JDaniel4’s Mom where she shares other learning activities, printables, crafts, and food creations. She loves growing and learning beside her son. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram.
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