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Mom of the Year, Ha.
Nap time. Ahhh. Can you just revel in the peace with me for just a moment? Thanks. Nap time is to be all around respected, as when both kids are napping at the same time it is simply, the best.
We have been working super hard around here on shapes lately, and our two year old has been picking up on them quite quickly. I marvel at him every time he says a shape that I didn’t know he knew. For instance, today, he started busting out oval. What?? Yes, we have discussed an oval, but not gone into great depth about it. I tell you, toddlers are sponges. They soak it all up – the good, and sometimes the bad. Cue mom having a show on in the background that had someone saying shut up, which resulted in him saying shut up. Just go ahead and give me the Mom of the Year award right there. We had a discussion about the word afterwards, and knock on wood, it hasn’t been uttered again.
Pause. Previous discussed two year decided he needed to get out of his bed during nap time. Yes, I jinxed myself. It was too good to be true. More to come on that lovely big boy bed transition later. Stay posted for a post on that milestone.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Back to bed, and back to more on shapes. Fingers crossed it lasts this time. We have been having so much fun finding ways to learn our shapes around here, so I wanted to share some super easy ways to incorporate shapes into your learning routine. As previously stated in my post, Toddler Devotion Example, I am totally about using what you have at home. Please, do not reinvent the wheel, and do not put those kids in the car to go get these materials because we all know the struggles of putting them all in the car, buckling them in, getting them out of the car, and back to do it again just to get a couple of items.
Side note: my husband asked me to pick up a lottery ticket yesterday afternoon when I was leaving the zoo at 5:00. Just a lottery ticket. One item. Getting the kids in and out of the car for One. Item. An item that wasn’t a necessity. I ever so kindly reminded him of that struggle since my 30 pound child still doesn’t walk and my two year old child likes to run away. Let’s not even discuss Houston traffic at 5:00. Needless to say, I did not pick up that wanted lottery ticket. Every now and then, they need those kind reminders of the daily struggle, and we need to avoid situations that have us asking for more #jesusandwine.
With all that being said, if you don’t have the items I used lying around my house, use what you do have! Alter as needed, and remember, as long as your child is getting something out of the activity, you’re doing it perfectly! These activities are obviously more geared to my two year old, as the 14 month old isn’t quite ready to learn his shapes, no matter how smart I think he is, however, I totally believe it is great for them to listen and observe what is going on, as they’re sponges at that age too.
- Get out the painter’s tape! This is such a fun and exciting game for them. Tape on the floor?! How rebellious. Painter’s tape is amazing because it leaves no sticky residue and is super easy to work with. The main three shapes we started out learning were circle, square and triangle. I created the shapes on the floor with the painter’s tape – large enough for my two year old to stand in. Little bit decided the circle was easy to take up off the floor, so we continued this activity when he went down for nap time.
We started off by sorting shapes into the shapes created out of painter’s tape. Again, I used household items for him to sort
with, i.e. Tupperware tops, shapes cut out of construction paper, toys, etc. Once he had sorted all of the shapes, I extended
the activity by having him run to the shapes I called out. The kid has never ending energy, so he really enjoyed this. I continued
by having him jump in certain shapes, spin in certain shapes, etc. Be creative!
- Every toddler needs some playdoh, and if you don’t have playdoh lying around, Google a recipe for homemade playdoh, and I’m sure you have all of the ingredients you need to make your own.We used toys with certain shapes and cookie cutters to cut the playdoh into the shapes we were talking about. You can see in
the picture below the hodgepodge items we used to cut these shapes. Once the shapes were cut, I had him repeat each shape
aloud with me while touching them. I think it’s so important for the child to not only verbally say the shape, but also touch it and
look at it while they’re saying it. Get all of those learning styles in at one time!After he named all of the shapes a couple of times, repetitiveness is key, I had him point to the shape I named a few times.
Last, I had him pick up the shapes I named.
- Construction paper and cardstock are some things we can’t live without around here. For this next activity, I simply drew a circle, triangle, and square in sharpie on the cardstock and labeled each. You could totally add more shapes should your child be ready. I then used different colors of construction paper to cut out a few circles, triangles, and squares. After they were cut out, the sorting began! Have your child sort the shapes and say out loud what each shape is.
If your child is old enough, have them cut out the shapes themselves and put the glue on the shapes. This will help with their
fine motor skill development. Have patience with this task, as if you are a control freak like me, it will be tough not to just do it
yourself. Remind yourself it is benefitting them in the long run.
I mean, it’s just not a complete activity around here if you don’t eat something. Yummy construction paper.
- Don’t you just love sidewalk chalk? I do! The weather in Houston has to be one of my favorite things since we’ve moved here. 80 degrees in February? I’ll take it. Now, I know, I’ll be paying back for that comment come July.Take your sidewalk chalk and draw all of the shapes your child is learning in different colors. This will be great for those visual
learners. Have your child perform similar activities as stated above with the painter’s tape activity: run to this shape, jump in
that shape, dance in this shape, etc. The older toddlers could even practice drawing their shapes with the sidewalk chalk
Don’t Forget the Basics
The next activities seem mundane and simple, but they are so beneficial and altogether easier for you, so don’t think just because they aren’t “out of the box” means they aren’t worth doing.
- Have the Fisher Price Baby’s First Blocks set? Use it! For my oldest child’s first Christmas, some good friends of ours gave him this toy. She told me it was one of her children’s favorites, and it quickly became one of ours as well.
This is great for my two year old and my 14 month old. The two year old gets to name the shapes, while the 14 month old gets
to practice his fine motor skills by putting the shapes through the correct hole. The shapes are also different colors, so this is a
great time to integrate colors into the activity as well.
- We love flashcards around here. These are the flashcards we use around our house, and James loves them! He always asks if we can do flashcards. While I was still working, my two year old went to daycare every day, and they used flashcards with him daily to teach him every day objects/animals. Let me tell you, they work. I know they may seem monotonous, boring, and not very creative, but they’re beneficial. If you use these with your child regularly to learn their shapes and colors, I promise you will see great results, just be patient.
- YouTube is one of my best friends. I know not everyone believes in screen time, but you know Mom of the Year over here uses it. I pull it up on our AppleTV and the boys love to sing and dance to it. There are so many toddler shapes songs out there. Find which ones your kids love and let them watch, sing, and dance to them. Eventually, they’ll start singing along.
- Again, this is a screen time activity, so if you don’t agree, just skip this one. I have downloaded free shape apps on my phone and my two year old loves them. Also, he rocks at them. I know screen time is up for debate, but you can’t deny that it’s amazing that at just two he can sort his shapes through these apps. It has also helped his fine motor skills, as he has to drag the correct shape to the correct section. Some of our favorite free apps are: Smart Shapes, Sorter, and Sorter 2.
9. The teacher in me just has to tell you to incorporate books in all activities! Our favorite shape book right now is an oldie but a
goodie, Brainy Baby, Shapes & Colors. Reading is so important and vital to your child becoming a good reader. The research
that has been done on language development and reading skills based off of how much a child is spoken directly to or read to
is truly amazing.
Share your Shape Activities
I hope this was beneficial to those of you working on shapes with your kids. If you have any shape ideas you’d like to share, I would certainly love to hear them! We are each others best resource. As we teach our kids, sharing is caring ;).