Category Archives: Shapes

Homemade Geoboard

I’ve seen this idea on lots of blogs throughout my activity searching  and finally decided I would make one too.  You can use this link on Mama Jenn to see how it’s made.  This is not only good shape practice, but it’s turning out to be good fine motor skill practice too.  J does have a hard time stretching the rubber bands to far enough, when left on his own he basically lays them across two pegs.  I have to encourage him to try and stretch them further. 

This is definitely an activity that we do together.  Even if he had the fine motor skills to do it on his own, I would still keep a close eye on him because the board is made with pushpins.  So far there is no sign at all that they might come out, but I’m not confident enough to walk away from him with this toy yet.  Also, removing the stretched rubber bands could potential shoot them across the room or into his leg which could hurt.  He can’t remove them on his own yet either, so we haven’t actually had an injury or anything, just FYI.

Learning Shapes: Triangles

Floor Shapes:  We taped triangles up and down our kitchen floor.  I got the first few started and then J helped me by decided if the triangle should be big or little and making sure I completed the triangle’s three sides.  I repeated again and again that triangles have three sides and we counted as I placed each side down.   This is my winter/rainy day version of sidewalk chalk.  If you read my sidewalk chalk post, you’ll know that I like to have something out as a consistent reminder of our weekly lessons.  Painter’s tape works well when we can’t get outside!

When the triangles were all completed, we traced them with our fingers, we walked and “jumped” across the triangle path, we drove cars around the sides of the triangles and we filled each triangle with one of his Matchbox cars (a good reminder for the number one).

Triangle Building Shapes – This is a simple activity and so easy to prepare.  All I had to do was cut out a handful of foam triangles in different sizes and colors.  I showed J how to lay the triangles next to each other to create pictures and designs (basically build with triangles instead of blocks).  He mostly wanted to match the triangles (same size and color) which was perfectly fine with me.  The point was to give him lots of visual reminders of a triangle and that was accomplished.  You could do this activity with felt or even construction paper (and glue the shapes onto paper).  I saw something similar in a learning store, but the shapes were magnetic.  I loved that idea, but I was too cheap to buy them and didn’t have time to make them!

Stickers in Triangles – I gave J a piece of paper filled with triangles and had him place one sticker inside each triangle. 

Age Attempted: 23 months (have done similar activities much younger… 18 months??)

Teachable Moments:  inside/outside (with stickers and cars inside triangle); focus on triangles having 3 sides and 3 corners/points; what shapes can we create by placing triangles together?? (foam pieces)

Try Again? I resuse these activities often

St. Patrick’s Day Clover

We’ve done a few crafts this way and I’ve found they work really well for toddlers.  It requires simple shape matching and gluing. 

First I cut out the pieces and traced the shapes into the desired shape on construction paper.  In this case it was 3 circles (though hearts would probably make them look more like clovers… didn’t think about that until it was already done!)  I did not trace the stem of the clover; we just added that last.

J helps match the shape cut-outs to the traced shapes on the paper.  Using a Q-tip, he glues the shape in place. 

23 months

  This is J’s final product. 

J has also made a flower and a sun using this same process (I’ll post those pictures later). I have planned some pictures where he has to match multiple shapes in one activity.

Age attempted: this particular one was at 23 months, the flower and sun were done around 19 months

Teachable Moments:  I emphasize the shapes in the project, how to use glue (he uses the Q-tip to place a dab of glue inside the shapes)

Try Again?  Similar activities, yes

Apple Shapes, Learning for J and a fun Challenge for Mom and Dad

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate our lesson of the day into any and all activities of the day.  J is having a difficult time remembering the rectangle, maybe because it’s similar to the square??  So today I cut his apple into rectangles.  I think every mom does this at some point.  It’s a simple way to help them learn and a simple way to encourage them to eat.  For some reason the apple-circles are much more fun to eat than just the apple slices! 

What I found interesting was it was kinda fun for me too.  I probably inhibited the purpose of my apple shapes because instead of keeping all the shapes rectangular, I started challenging myself to see what shapes I could create.  J rather enjoyed watching Mommy attempt octagons and stars.  The next night at dinner, we were having apples again and my husband got involved in our little game as well. 

I wish I took pictures of all the shapes we sliced, but J was pretty hungry (and Mom and Dady were distracted with the challenge at hand!). 

So if you haven’t already, take a stab at the apple.   

Age Attempted: 22 months, yes it took me this long to make shapes with J’s snacks!

Teachable Moments:  shapes, that Mommy can have fun with J’s activities too :)

Try Again?  My next challenge will be carving cones.

**Edited to add – We made letters tonight!  It was actually J’s idea and quite a challenge to go through the alphabet. :)

Homemade Game: Matching Blocks

J is really into matching his toys.  He is constantly finding ways to organize trains, tracks, blocks, beads,…  We have these Melissa and Doug wooden lacing beads and I noticed J was constantly turning the wooden tray over so that he could match the colorful beads to the pictures on the tray.  Unfortunately there were only a few pictures to match.  So I decided to create a matching board that included all the beads.  This was something I did quickly while J was playing nearby, so the final product certainly has mistakes! I just traced each bead and then added color to match each one.  You could probably create a board like this using powerpoint that looks much more professional.  J didn’t notice the mistakes at all.  He loved the board and went straight to work. 

Age attempted: 22 months

Teachable Moments:  label the shapes and colors, recognize color patterns, number recognition

Try Again? Yes, I pull this matching board out maybe once a week

You obviously could create a matching board for lots of different toys your little one already owns.  Letter blocks, stacking toys, flashcards, cars, trains, letter/number magnets, …  I’m sure you can come up with lots of ideas.  Please share your ideas!!

Tape Shapes

J got a great gift from his Aunt… colorful bean bags!!  I’m so excited to use them for lots of fun!  This is my first official activity using them.  I used painters tape to create various shapes on thekitchen floor, in this case a square, triangle and rectangle.  We’re currently emphasizing the rectangle in our house since it’s one of the basic shapes that J hasn’t consistently recognized yet.  I chose the triangle and the square because he’s better as those (adding just one unfamiliar shape at a time).

I then gave J specific directions, “Toss the green beanbag into the square!”  He enjoyed trying to toss them inside the shapes.  I requested a specific color bean bag to reinforce colors.  He’s pretty good at most of his colors which kept this activity focused more on the shapes.  You could definitely use the painted shapes without the bean bags… “Crawl to the circle! Walk to the square!  Walk backwards to the triangle!”

This was also a great way to emphasize inside and outside as well as fill and empty (“Empty the triangle!”)

As a side note – I left these shapes on the floor for a full week.  They’re very convenient!  If you need your toddler contained for a bit, “J, sit on the square!  Eat your snack in the rectangle!”  It gives them obvious boundaries and helps them easily understand what you’re asking of them. 

22 months

Age Attempted?  22 months

Try Again?  Yes, maybe different activities using the floor shapes.

Falling Leaves

I love Dot markers!  Oh I wish they had these when I was little!  I find myself thinking about tons of different pictures we could create with these cool markers.  At this age, however, I’ll stick to the simple pictures.

One such picture is an autumn tree.  I drew the tree trunk beforehand and gave J the orange, yellow and red markers to create leaves.  He loves the dot markers too, but hasn’t quite mastered them yet. He mostly likes to take the colorful caps off and then of course put them back on.   

You’ll notice many of the leaves in the example picture are in the process of falling or have already landed on the ground nearby.  Hopefully it looked enough like a tree for Grandma to recognize it!

Age Attempted: 17 months

Teachable moments: Of course you can emphasize that the markers create circles on the paper, take a walk outside to see the changing leaves, talk about how the leaves change from green to yellow and orange and red when the weather begins to chill; this is a good seasonal activity

Try Again?  We’ve already done other pictures with dot markers.  They make great balloons and bubbles!  Sorry no examples to show!