The following post contains affiliate links.
Learning Tub Series
Next up in our Learning Tub Series is a look inside our Shape Tub. If you missed the others posts thus far, you can get a look inside our Alphabet Tub here and our Animal Tub here. Also, I have written about shape activities a couple of times in the past, but many of those are larger activities that don’t necessarily go in our Learning Tubs; however they are super fun for little ones! You can check out those fun shape activities here and here. We could spend a whole day just talking about shapes around here!
Sidenote: Can you just take a minute to celebrate with me that BOTH of my boys are playing independently right now?? And they’re happy doing it. That NEVER happens. They always want momma right there with them. If I get more than three feet away from my two year old, he always asks, “Momma, where are you gooooinnng?” Insert why I need Jesus and wine many days. Love them fiercely, but wear and tear y’all.
Want to know how I achieved this? I simply emptied their toy baskets on the floor and let them go. They have all of these toys and never play with the majority of them. Sure, I have a GIANT mess to clean up, but they’re happy, and I’m getting things accomplished. Sometimes, the mess is worth it. Instead of feeling guilty about this, I’m going to remind myself that them learning to play independently is an important skill.
Shapes are Fun
Shapes are fun because you can see them everywhere! To help your little ones learn about shapes, you can simply go on a Shapes Hunt around your house. I use to do this when I taught first grade. It’s really fun when they get to be about six, as they’ll start learning about 3D shapes, and as you know, there are many 3D shapes around us; however, if you have toddlers like me, you can simply look for those flat, 2D shapes.
A Look Inside our Shape Tub
I am all about simple, easy activities that allow me to teach my child an important skill. Let’s face it, I don’t have the time (a one year old an a two year old) or energy to create anything too fancy. I am also all about using what you have at home. It’s not easy to put everyone in the car just to buy one material to create an activity that will probably be eaten or destroyed at some point. As always, should my kiddos master what’s inside the Shape Tub, or simply need something new to engage in, I can rotate the activities inside them to spice it up a bit. I never thought I’d being saying “spice it up a bit” in regards to shapes… my how life changes when you enter the kid phase of life. Without further ado, here is a look inside what we have in our Shape Tub right now:
- Books – If you’ve read any of my past posts, you know I try to always start activities with books that relate. It’s the teacher in me. Literacy is sooo important, and I want my boys to love books like me. I actually don’t have many shape specific books, but that’s ok because there are many books that don’t necessarily pertain to shapes but have illustrations that provide great shape practice.These are the books currently in our Shape Tub: Brainy Baby Shapes and Colors (Use this link and this book is only 25 cents right now! Added bonus you can work on colors too!), Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses (This is not a shape book, but on just one page alone, I found ovals, rectangles, a pentagon and a circle. Not to mention, I LOVE Pete the Cat books!), and Little Dino’s Egg. The last book is not a shape specific book either, but it is one of James’ favorites right now, and as you can see by the picture below, it has lots of shapes you can talk about in the illustrations! If you use that link for this book its less that $1.50, which is a STEAL! Such a cool book.
- Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby’s First Blocks – My boys love these blocks, and they teach so many skills besides just shapes. They help with fine motor skills, they help teach kids how to sort, and they’re different colors, so you can work on not only shapes, but colors as well! We also have used this blocks to make shapes out of play dough in the past. I would use play dough more if my boys would decide to stop eating it.
- Craft Stick Shapes – All you need for this activity is some craft sticks (I like the jumbo size) and some velcro (I like the precut round velcro – less work for me). I simply put the velcro dots on the ends of the craft sticks, and James puts the sticks together in various shapes. Clearly, we can’t make a circle or an oval, but we can make squares, rectangles, rhombuses, pentagons, trapezoids, etc. The trick here is to make sure you have the correct velcro pieces on the sticks to make sure they can match up to form a shape. I suggest preparing by making one shape at a time yourself so you can make sure they can be put together as a shape. You can then keep the pieces sorted in baggies to make it easier. If you get the colored craft sticks, this would make the process easier, as you can know all the blue sticks make a square for example.
- Sweet Shapes – Again, another activity in which you only need two materials – toothpicks and marshmallows. Depending on the level of your child, you can either build shapes yourself out of the toothpicks and marshmallows and have your child identify the shapes, or you can have your child create the shapes themselves. You can even start off doing it and showing them and then make they would be ready to do this themselves. Added bonus: they get a yummy snack along the way. Simply use the marshmallows at the corners of the shapes to connect the toothpicks together. The toothpicks will act as the lines of the shapes. Go over shape corners and lines as well as an extra lesson with learning shapes.
- Shape Sorting – The last thing in our Shape Tub is an activity that I found on Pinterest here. The materials I needed: sharpie, construction paper, card stock, and glue. We started off doing simple shapes like a circle, triangle, and square, but as your child learns more, you can do the same activity with more difficult shapes. Again, discuss lines and corners or how circles and ovals have neither. This was fun and allowed James to practice gluing which was great fine motor skill practice.
As always, I hope you enjoy! What shape activities are you doing with your little ones?