Teaching shapes to preschoolers is very important. Why? Because it helps them develop various skills that we use in our daily life like observing and comparing, rearranging and reordering, and so on.
By Arun Sharma
Even before children are taught numbers or the letters of the alphabet in schools, they are taught about shapes and colours. Teaching shapes is important as it helps them compare one object with another, understand what are similar and what aren’t, and organise information visually.
Learning about shapes lays a strong foundation for learning letters and numbers during the early years of education. It helps a child differentiate one letter or number from another. The ability to understand shapes also helps in solving problems in maths, especially geometry, and in logical reasoning.
Now that you know how important it is for your child to know shapes, let’s look at some fun ways to teach them to your child.
1. Draw shapes on paper: Children love scribbling with pen, pencils, crayons, whatever they can lay their hands on. You can use your child’s love for scribbling to teach her about shapes. Hold her hand and make her draw the simplest shape, that is, a line. Explain to your child what a line is. For example, it connects two points together. Once she starts drawing lines, hold her hands and make her draw other shapes over a period like a square, triangle and circle.
2. Make shapes using toothpicks: Any activity that involves creativity and application of skills appeals to children. Draw the diagram of a triangle, square, rectangle and so on, on a sheet of paper. Give your child a few toothpicks and a tube of glue. Ask him to apply glue on the outline of the shape and stick the toothpicks.
3. Stick shapes on paper: Draw different geometric shapes on a sheet of paper. Now, on another sheet of paper, draw another set of the same shapes. Give your child the second sheet along with some crayons and a pair of scissors. Ask her to first colour a shape, and then you can cut it out for her. Then, ask her to stick it on the first sheet where it appears.
4. Use cookie cutters: Give your child a packet of kinetic sand. Ask him to spread it out on a wide tray and level the surface using his palms. Now give him some cookie cutters of different shapes. Ask him to pick up one cookie cutter at a time, say aloud its shape, and then make an imprint of it on the sand. Alternatively, your child can also spread some sand on a tray and use his fingers to draw different shapes on the sand.
5. Play hopscotch: Draw different shapes of large size on sheets of chart paper and cut them out. Now stick these shapes to the floor using an adhesive tape. Say aloud the name of a shape and ask your child to run and stand on that shape. To make the game a bit exciting, you can say the names in quick succession. You can also use a piece of chalk to make the shapes on the floor of your house, instead of using chart paper.
6. Build shapes using tangrams: A tangram is a form of Chinese puzzle that consists of seven geometric pieces, which includes one square, five triangles and one parallelogram. These pieces can be put together to form different shapes. Your child can combine the individual pieces to make different shapes.
7. Read books: Children love flipping through the pages of a book and looking at its contents. So, buy your child some books with illustrations of different shapes, slit-and-slot books, and worksheets.
8. Take a walk: Take your child out for a walk every day. And, while you are walking together, point out to different objects and ask him what shapes those objects resemble.
Learning shapes not only helps in academics but also in other areas like rearranging the house, creating designs, spatial thinking and so on. So, go ahead and begin teaching shapes to your child right away. For, laying a strong foundation during early childhood will help your child absorb lessons quicker and better during later years.
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