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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Introduction of Shapes to Young Children

Early years are fundamental in children's lives and our role as parents is to awaken and feed young brains that are like sponges ready to absorb everything we put in front of them. This is when they grasp the very basic concepts that will be become the very first building blocks of their future knowledge. These are the concepts that will allow children to digest and categorize the information about the world around them in the coming years.

Today I would like to talk about introducing shapes.
As early as infant years babies start to notice the difference between the objects. The see it but they do not have the skills to describe it yet. And this is where we parents come to the rescue.
I think it is important to provide our kids with new material, to challenge them as much as we can. You'd be surprised how much they understand and learn! Most of us underestimate the abilities of our children. By 15 months my daughter new all the basic shapes and colors. And I the reason I mentioned underestimating because I kept thinking that she was a baby and didn't introduce her to the concept of shapes earlier. She got it right away! Maybe after a couple of "talks".

Don't be afraid of over educating your kiddo! It's not educating for them really. Everything is like a game to them and you parents, make sure about that!
In the beginning (and by that I mean 6+ months) casually use the names of the shapes in your conversation. No pressure, we are just getting familiar here. Around 1 year you can expect from your child to point the shapes out. There are a lot of books out there. These are just a few I like. Feel free to expand the list.
1.Shapes by Justine Smith (board book)

2.Round Is a Mooncake: A Book Of Shapes by Roseanne Thong and Grace Lin

3.Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban (she has a number of good ones on shapes)

4.Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert (comes in board book too)

5.Color Farm by Lois Ehlert

As we all know, children in the yearly years get most of their knowledge from play and everyday experiences. Provide them with wooden blocks of various shapes and colors ( to kill two birds!). I recently got for my daughter a board game that she really enjoys. It is called Shape Shuffle by The Learning Journey. It teaches kids shapes, colors, sizes and fractions. It does cover a lot! There are cards with the shapes and their names, then there are cards that show how to make new shapes out of existing ones. There are simple cards for beginners that want them to match a shape to a picture and more advanced ones that want kids to determine what shape to use to complete the design. It says on the box 3+, but I think if your child knows the basics before that you can give it a try.

For older children (I'll say 4 to adults) try the ancient Chinese puzzle Tangram. It consists of 7 shapes and your objective is to recreate the design on a card. I saw it at Barns and Noble not too long ago. It is a fun way to spend a family night together.
And one more thing! If you want your children to learn their shapes in no time talk about them constantly. Whatever you do, wherever you are talk shapes. You may be annoyed but very proud at the same time that your toddler is ahead of his/her crew and all of it is thanks to you!


JosiahsMommy said...

I'm going to check out some of these books! Thank you for this post!

SmartPumpkin'sMom said...

You are always welcome! Thanks for sticking with me. ;)

JennyMac said...

Great book list!

Dreamgirl said...

Great post. Very informative.
Just stopping by from SITS wishing you a wonderful Thursday!