Shapes are all around us and I want to show them to my child. Since I like to do my homework, I looked up an article that parents can teach their children about shapes by making an effort of pointing out all the shapes when they go to the grocery store.
Exactly where the article came from, I don’t remember, but was able to find something similar at:
The idea is to incorporate the learning of geometry where ever you go, for example, the grocery store. What I did was just that. I had my flash cards of a circle, triangle, oval, rectangle, and square in my purse, ready to get them out.
When we looked for cereal, I pointed out to my baby that the box faces are rectangles. This is the time to pull out the rectangle shape card to compare it with the front of the cereal box. The words that I would use would go a little something like this:
Mom: “This is a rectangle. It has four sides, four angles, and four corners (vertices). There are two sides that are the same length and another two sides that are the same length to each other. “
When we were looking at eggs, I would point out that the egg is an oval shape and then pull out the oval shape card to compare it. When it was time to go get milk, I would point out that the lid to the milk is a circle. The words that I would use would go a little something like this:
Mom: “This is a circle. This lid is round. It does not have any corners (vertices) or sides. “
Outside of the grocery store, I would point out things to my son of real things that looked like a square, or a triangle, or a circle. Tiles on the floor of many buildings are either squares or rectangles. Some wording for squares might go like this:
Mom: “This tile on the floor is a square. A square has four sides that are all the same length to each other. A square has four angles that are all equal to each other (90 degrees each). It also has four corners (vertices).”
At the restaurant, a straw can easily become a great tool for teaching shapes. Connect end to end and you can make a square, a rectangle, or even a triangle. This was great even when my son was fussy and needed a little distraction. At that point, I would quickly, very quickly say something like this:
Mom: “Wow! Look at this! This is a triangle. It has three sides, three corners, and three angles. Play with it!” 🙂
In time, I would then ask my son to look at something when we were at the house or out an about. Then I would ask him what shape he thought it was. If everything was planned ahead, there would be shape cards handy for him to choose which one looked that like object. In time, he was able to tell me what shape the rock was, or what shape the tile was, or what shape the full moon was at the time. It was between 9 months to 13 months when he was able to tell me the shapes with no errors whatsoever.
For my second child, things were a little different. He really liked to use the shape flash card app on my phone. This especially helped when the line at the grocery store is a little long and both kids are fussy. My second son would be thrilled to use my flash card app and go over the shapes. He was about a little under a year old doing this and he learned how to take care of Mommy’s phone because it was a privilege to have it.
On a side note though, I would describe the shape to my children with at least one characteristic. I would say the name of the shape and count how many sides it has, for example. If the shape card was handy, I would use it. If not, then I did not use it. The point was to show my kids that shape are all around them. If you want to have shape cards that are printable and ready to use, go to the following links:
2 dimensional shape flash cards in English
2 dimensional shape flash cards in Spanish
Before I end this posting, here is something to think about:
As adults, we sometimes take for granted what we already know. We normally do not see something and say what shape it is because we already know it. By pointing things out to our children, it opens their world that much more. The same can be done for colors, sizes, and textures. Show them what soft feels like. Have them see what yellow is and what it might taste like, for example, mustard. Show them what green looks like and what it smells like, for example, freshly cut grass or a green vegetable. Open up their world by seeing things through your eyes. It is amazing what our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers learn by learning from what we point out to them.
copyright 2012 learning math with mom