How can I teach shapes to my toddler or preschooler? What is a fun preschool shape activity?
Smiley Man is getting into this stage where he really likes scissors. I’m in this stage where I like to ban scissors because of a few scissors cuts that have happened somewhat recently (cuts in the couch, haircuts, cuts in my favorite rice warmer). Yeah, let’s just say that not everything is perfect in my household. ;)
Anyway, I wanted to capitalize on Smiley Man’s interest in cutting, but I also wanted to provide a controlled environment for him to practice cutting. Luckily, this cutting practice goes perfectly with learning shapes. Not only will this activity help to teach shapes, but it will also give your toddler or preschooler some great cutting practice!
Start with a red piece of construction paper. You don’t have to use red, but we will be using these cut shapes as “pepperoni” to go on our shape “pizzas” that I’ll be posting about next week. Fold the paper into 8 long strips and cut them apart.
Each strip of paper will be used for a different shape. Draw lines on the rectangle to make a bunch of that shape. Okay, I know that sounds really confusing, but here is a picture of Smiley Man cutting my long strip that will be a bunch of squares.
Hopefully that makes more sense now. For the non-straight shapes (circle, heart, oval, star) you can just draw lines to make squares and then draw the shapes in the squares. Here is my long strip for circles.
Once you are done prepping the rectangles, get your toddler ready and pull out the scissors. Usually toddlers will need help with holding the paper and sometimes they will need help with opening and closing the scissors. Try to let your toddler do as much as he can by himself, but don’t worry if he needs a lot of helping.
When you finish cutting a long rectangle into the shapes, talk about that shape and its characteristics (look at these squares, they all have four sides, let’s count the sides, etc.). We made little piles of all the shapes to keep them separate, then we put them into baggies to save for our shape “pizzas” that we’ll do next week.
This was a great way to give Smiley Man some controlled scissor practice and it was also a great way to teach shapes!
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