Learning about shapes sets the stage for understanding geometry. For young children, this involves recognizing and naming simple shapes and their attributes. Four-year-olds are building their shape vocabulary. You can reinforce their understanding by using words like "square," "circle," "triangle," "pentagon", and "hexagon". You can help your child understand the differences between shapes by counting sides and corners.
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Easy Funny Faces Activity
Art projects are a great opportunity to explore shapes. Cut out various sizes of circles, squares, triangles, and rectangles from construction paper. Using a paper plate as the face, have your child glue on the different shapes to form the eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. You can make a face that is all triangles, all circles, or all squares, or a mix-and-match face that uses different shapes. Say the names of the shapes as you glue them together. This is also a fun way to make jack-o-lanterns at Halloween!
Go on a Shape Hunt
Shapes are everywhere! Go on a walk around your home or through the neighborhood with your child and try to find as many as you can. Start simple: look for circles, squares, and triangles. If the opportunity presents itself, take a moment to consider how a two-dimensional shape can be a part of a three-dimensional shape (such as a square side of a cube).
Make a Two-Dimensional Shape Book
Create a book out of construction paper. Make a page for each shape: circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, and pentagons. Then look through magazines, catalogs, and photos to find examples of each shape. Cut out the shapes and glue them into your book to create a collage for each page.
Teach Words for Shapes and Sizes
Hearing spatial language helps toddlers and preschoolers develop their spatial reasoning skills. Spatial language includes references to shapes (triangle, square), sizes (tall, wide), features of shapes (corner, edge), and orientation (above, below, near, between). Help your child by using these words to describe daily activities. For example: "I see some round grapes that fell under the table. Let's put them in this bowl."
Get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Encourage your child to pick up leaves, twigs, or small rocks they find interesting. It is important to explain that poisonous plants and all insects should be left alone. At home, have your child sort the treasures into like piles (all the leaves together, all the twigs together, etc.). Afterwards, let your child glue the objects to a paper to create an art project. You could also hold another bag and use gloves to pick up trash that blows into your neighborhood or local park.
Food comes in various shapes - e.g., oranges are round and granola bars are rectangular. Point out shapes in the foods you eat. Ask your child how they want their sandwich cut - in triangles (2 or 4), rectangles, or squares.