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Basic Shape Collection
Nada offers several songs and activities to promote early learning about basic
geometric shapes.

Materials: Books about shapes, pre-cut paper crowns, pre-cut paper shapes to 
decorate the crowns, a sheet with a circle on it, yellow yarn, assortment of plastic shapes for the children to trace, songs and shapes to sort.

Description:  Singing a song for each shape that is discussed.

Circle Song Circle
(Tune: Have You Ever Seen Lassie?)
Have you ever seen a circle,
A circle, a circle?
Have you ever seen a circle,
That goes round and round.
It rolls this way and that way,
And this way and that way,
Have you ever seen a circle
That goes round and round?

Triangle SongTriangle
(Tune: Pop, Goes a Weasel)
 I'm a small triangle,
 I have three sides you see'
 I also have three corners,
 They're just right for me!

Square SongSquare
(Tune: You Are My Sunshine)
 I am a square, a lovely square,
 I have four sides, they're all the same,
 I have four corners, four lovely corners,
 I am a square and that is my name!

Star SongStar: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are,
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
When the evening sun is set,
And the grass with dew is wet,
Then I see your little light,
Twinkle, Twinkle all the night.

As your bright and shining spark
Lights the heavens in the dark,
How I wonder what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle little star.

Centers:
 1. Children make shape crowns; they glue paper shapes on the pre-cut crowns; the 
    teacher encourages the children to identify and count the shapes on their crowns.

 2. The children color a circle yellow; cut yellow yarn and glue it around the shape.
     The teacher encourages children to look for the  shapes in their environment 
      (example the tables in the classroom are squares,  etc.)

 3. Provide children with a variety of plastic shapes on one of the tables so that they 
     can trace and use the shapes for making pictures
    (example make a face out of a  circle by adding facial expressions, etc.).

 4. Play dough at a table with cookie cutters.

 5. A table with puzzles and file folder games related to the shape theme.
     Note: The children are not expected to complete all these activities in one day, 
               they are encouraged to make choices.

Snack: Jam and Bread
Children are encouraged to choose a shape for their sandwich then cut the bread with the appropriate cookie cutter and to spread jam on it with plastic knives.

Circle Time: Sorting Activity
The children sit in a circle and take turns sorting plastic shapes.  We count the number of circles, triangles, etc. and also sing our shape songs.

Gayle's Note: For picture books about shapes go to Books Listed by Themes
 

Game: Peek-a-Boo Shapes
During this fun game from Becky F. children identify shapes on the felt board.

Materials: Felt pieces in various shapes and a flannel board.

Description: Teachers cut shapes out of felt and put them on a flannel board.  Point to each one and have all the children call out its name. Take the shapes off the felt
board and tuck them under your leg.  Have the children cover their eyes. Put one 
shape on the board and say, Peek-a-boo, a shape for you!
Let the children uncover their eyes while you're pointing at the shape. You and 
the children call out what it is. You repeat the name of the shape while tracing 
around the edge of it with your finger.  Everyone clap. Repeat with other shapes.

Ideas for Shapes & Sizes
Allan A. contributes five ideas to help youngsters learn about both shapes and sizes.

Materials for 5 activities:
Activity 1:  Shapes to trace, construction paper, pencils, scissors.
Activity 2:  Tanner Hobby book Circles and Squares, chart paper, marker.
Activity 3:  Typed sentences from activity 2 for each child cut into strips, 
                   glue sticks, paper cut into square shape for each child, crayons,
                   markers or  pencils
 Activity 4:  Chart w/small, medium & large written across bottom (in small, medium 
                   & large letters), 3 pictures or actual similar items in small, medium
                   and large.
 Activity 5:  Chart paper, markers

Descriptions of 5 activities:
Activity 1:  Have the shapes available to trace at the art center. Encourage the 
                  children to create objects (real or fantasy) with the different shapes.

Activity 2:  Look through the wordless picture book Circles and Squares, by 
                   Tanner  Hobby.  See if the children can find all the squares and circles 
                   on  each page.  Review  the items they found after completing the 
                   book.  Can the children name any more?  Ask them to each complete the 
                   sentence "A square can be" and record their answers on chart paper.

Activity 3:  Type the children's sentences out from Activity 2.  Cut them into 
                   strips and give each child their sentence.  Talk about how illustrators 
                   make their pictures to relate to the words on each page.  Re-read each 
                   sentence.  What can they draw to  illustrate their page?  Make a 
                   cover, laminate and put in the book space for them to read.

Activity 4:  Make and laminate a chart with the words small, medium and large 
                  across the bottom in the corresponding size letters.  If you are doing 
                  pictures, have one of each size and do this as an interactive chart with 
                  velcro or magnet on the back.  If you are doing actual objects, have one 
                  of each size and you can do this as a table top activity. The children 
                  are to sort each item in the correct column.  Using the correct words 
                  that you have written across the bottom.

Activity 5:  Have the children create a story with you.  The title can be:
          If I Were Very Big or If I Were Very Little.  Kind of a 
                 variation on Honey I Shrunk the Kids.
                 Have the children help you create a character, story line and write the 
                 story as they dictate it to you.  This can be illustrated as in Activity 3.

Circle Song
This song and fingerplay from Becky F. helps children learn about circle shapes.

 Circle Song
 A circle, a circle
 Draw it round and fat    (draw large circle in air)
 A circle, a circle
 Draw it for a hat        (draw circle around head)
 A circle, A circle
 Draw it just for me.     (draw circle in air)
 A circle, a circle
 Now Jump and count to three  (1,2,3)
idea for circles Circle Ideas!
Here are 2 quick and easy ideas from Tracy that even Toddlers can do.

1.  Materials: Paint, paper and toilet paper rolls.
    Description: Dip the end of the toilet paper tubes into paint then place the 
    painted end on the paper, making circles.

2.  Materials: Cherries, circle stencil and glue.
     Description: stencil circles on paper then glue on cherries.

Circle Sort
Julie R. suggests this edible activity in which preschoolers sort circles by color and become familiar with circle shape.

Materials: Book Shapes Are Everywhere (or another book about shapes, see
Picture Books listed by Themes) and  Fruit Loop cereal or the like.

Description: Discuss the circle page in the book Shapes are Everywhere. Model sorting by color for your children with the cereal and then give your students a snack size baggy of cereal to sort.  They will become familiar with circles and at the same time practice sorting by color. The best part is once you check their "work" they can eat it. 

Comments: I haven't met a child who didn't like this activity.

Cooking: Snacking' Fun 
Youngster create their own snack as they recognize various shapes during this edible
activity from Lori S.

Materials: Cookie cutters in various shapes, sliced lunch meats and cheeses, and
bread.

Description: Have the children cut the meats and cheeses in the various shapes 
and build their own sandwiches!

Nature Painting
Allow children to explore the different textures and shapes of natural objects with
this activity from Mandy.

Materials: Poster paint, shallow bowls, one piece of construction paper per child, various pieces of natural items with a variety of textures, i.e. pine cones, rocks, leaves, twigs, evergreens, flower petals, ferns, etc.

Description: Pour a small amount of paint into the bowls. Have the children use the nature items to make prints or paint with on their paper. 

Comments: Kids love this, but be sure to properly cover the work space and use 
paint shirts!

Game: Shape Ball
Darnel P. promotes shape recognition with this circle time game.

Materials: Blown up beach ball.

Description: Using a blown up beach ball draw different shapes on it.  During 
circle time roll the ball to the students and have them either tell you what shape they have, or ask them to find a square, circle, triangle etc.

Comments: I also use this activity with letters and numbers.

Game: Shapes Toss
Preschoolers identify shapes and develop coordination during this activity
by Janet W.

Materials: Shapes: Cut out of cardboard and cover with felt or Paint
                 Bean Bags: Cut out of felt to match the shapes (Glue or Sew).

Description: Lay the Large Shapes out on the floor.  Make a Tape Line for the students to stand on to toss (Not to Far).
Have the students toss the Square bean bag on the square shape on the floor.
Repeat for the Circle, Triangle etc. Give each student 2 or 3 different shapes.

Comments: This game has been GREAT.  The children love it and it WORKS!

Shape Book
Courtney L. offers this activity to help children identify shapes and to use fine motor skills.

Materials:  Binder, construction paper, scissors, project covers & washable markers.

Description: Fill the pages of a binder with a variety of construction  paper shapes in different colors and sizes. Using project covers to protect the paper (these can be found in Wal-Mart or office supply stores) and make them re-writeable. Set out the book along with a washable marker. Show the children how to use the marker on the plastic pages encouraging them to trace the shapes. Clean the pages with a damp cloth after each child's turn.

Shape Flowers
The children get to use all of the different shapes and create there own flower during this preschool activity by C. I

Materials: Construction paper. green stems. Different shapes and colors cut out 
in ovals, squares, triangles, circles and rectangles.

Description: In advance have children trace and cut out various shapes. Teachers then explain to the children that they have the stem of a flower to start with and that they can make their flower any way that they want.  It may be necessary to show them different variations so they can understand this.

Star Flowers
Young children use fine motor and cutting skill when participating in this shape activity by Lesley B.

Materials: Colored paper, glue, glitter and paint.

Description: Draw 2 large triangles on yellow paper, a small paper plate size 
circle on brown paper, two long squiggly lines about 3 inches apart on paper to 
make a long stem, and two leaves on green paper. Cut everything out, glue two 
triangles together (one up side down) to make a star. Then glue a circle in the middle, and the stem on the back hanging down. Add leaves and hang to display.

Comments: It was a great end of the year cutting activity to see how well the children have developed. All of the children were able to cut everything out, very exciting!

Lacing Animal Shapes
Youngster use eye hand coordination during this activity from Barbara.

Materials: Poster board, hole puncher, tape and yarn.

Description: Cut the poster board into animal shapes and punch out holes around the 
edges. Show children how to sew the animal shapes using the yarn.

Comments: You might want to tie one end of the yarn onto the animal shape card 
so you don't lose the yarn. Put tape on the other end of the yarn so it doesn't
unravel.

Shape Creations
Children use creative skills and represent the use of shapes in everyday life during this activity from Connie Q.

Materials: Colored construction paper shapes and white construction paper.

Description: In advance youngsters trace and cut out various shapes from different colored construction paper. Use circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, stars, hearts, triangles and diamonds. Provide lots of different colored paper and stencil sizes.
Give each child a piece of white construction paper and stick glue.  Encourage them to plan their creation;  a motorcycle, dinosaur, house, person, favorite toy, food, etc.  Have each child use the various colored shapes to create their own creation. 

Outdoor:  Find the Shape
During this gross motor activity from Tonya W. children identify shapes, follow directions and have lots of FUN!

Materials: Sidewalk chalk or card board and tape.

Description: Using all the shapes that children have learned for the year, go outside and draw them on the sidewalk or inside tape cardboard  shapes to the floor. Have the children take turns following your directions: Call them by name to hop to the square, run to the triangle, jump on the circle, walk backwards to the oval, etc. 

Shape Mural
During this preschool education activity young children use recognition and matching skills.

You will need:
Popsicle sticks or craft sticks, glue, craft paper, tape, fabric remnants, yarn pieces, construction paper scraps etc.

At the beginning of small group time cover a table with craft paper and secure with tape.  Teachers form geometric shapes with different numbers of sticks.  Example: 3 for triangles, four for square, six for rectangles etc.  Encourage each child in the small group to match the shapes you form.  Talk about triangles, squares, circles and rectangles.

Next, preschool children glue their stick shapes on the craft paper and then glue fabric remnants, yarn pieces etc. inside their shapes.  With a felt tip marker teachers write children's names near their shape creations along with their explanations of their shapes.

Finally, mount the mural on a wall or bulletin board.

Stepping on Shapes
Preschool children use gross motor skills while recognizing shapes during this indoor activity.

You will need:
Masking tape, construction paper, large cut out shapes, instrumental music, clear contact (optional).

Teachers, in advance cut out large shapes from construction paper and, if available, cover the shapes with clear contact. 

Point out the shapes on the floor.  Walk around each shape and name them with the help of the children. Ask, "Who can stand on a triangle?" "Now, who can stand on another triangle?"  Put on the music and ask children to walk around the outside of the shapes.
Help children continue naming the shapes.

Next, have the children find places to stand outside of the shapes.  Play music and encourage them to move around the shapes.  Then stop the music and name one of the shapes.  Tell children to stop moving and find a circle to stand on.  Continue "Stepping on Shapes", by stopping the music and calling out different shapes.

Bread Shapes
During this activity children use motor skills as they create shapes for mealtimes.

You will need: Cookie cutters of various shapes and a loaf of bread, paper plates.

First, introduce the cookie cutter shapes and then provide the bread and plates. Explain, "Today we are going to use the cookie cutter to cut our bread for (lunch, snack)."  As children cut bread into different shapes, encourage them to name and talk about their "bread shapes". 

Try to save some of the shapes for the meal, but don't be surprised if children want to eat a few of their creations.

Shapes
Barbara offers this activity to help youngsters recognize shapes.

Materials: Marker and white board or chalk and chalkboard  or marker and paper.

Description:
Make shapes on the board and ask the group what shape it is.  Then 
as you make shapes put the shapes together to make a picture.

Examples:
Person -  circle as the head, rectangle as the body, arms and legs, circles for hands and feet, and small ovals for fingers.
Or
House - Square for house, triangle for roof, circle for sun, rectangle for door, any shape for windows.
For older kids let them make their own shape pictures.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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