High Five keeps parents and children coming back to Chandler Public Libraries, in person or not! High Five is an early literacy promotion that introduces five key concepts: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play. But there’s more to say about early literacy! Read about how working with shapes helps your child learn!
Being able to recognize shapes is the first step toward telling letters apart. When you see them in books or toys, name and trace the triangles, squares, and rectangles with your toddler or baby. Get into the habit of describing objects when you talk about them. For example, you can refer to an apple you are eating as a “round, red apple.” This helps expand your child’s vocabulary.
As your child becomes more familiar with them, have her sort shapes into groups. Finding similarities and differences between objects is a great skill to have. Shape sorters are a good toy to practice with, and they are easy to make. Trace blocks onto a cardboard box and cut out holes that are slightly larger than the shape. With preschoolers, you can also have your child sort toy letters based on the kinds of shapes that they see in them. Which letters have straight lines? Which letters have holes in them?
Shapes can be found everywhere! Go on a shape hunt outside and take a tally of the different shapes that you can find in manmade objects and nature. You can talk about what different street signs look like, what they mean, and why there are lines on the road. There are many patterns in the shapes you find in nature, from round river stones to the swirls in a snail shell. A beautiful book about the shapes in nature is Round by Jennifer Ward. Children can be very observant, so be prepared to answer some great questions!
Shapes are important in both art and engineering, so there are lots of opportunities to build and create things as your child is learning. Use tangrams to create animals, flowers, boats, or other scenes and talk about what shapes they used to make them. A great book to pair with this activity is Color Farm by Lois Ehlert. Have your child build a tall tower and ask what kinds of shapes are best for the bottom. Are they round or flat? Playdough is another fun tactile way to introduce younger children to shapes. You can roll balls and snakes for three-dimensional objects or use cookie cutters to cut out different flat shapes.
Here are some other great books to help you explore shapes with your child:
Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tom Hopgood
City Shapes by Diana Murray
Round Is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong
Circle, Square, Moose by Kelly L Bingham