Seasonal Fun Reinforces Shapes and Colors
Children learn by touching, exploring and talking about new and interesting things. Enhance your child’s learning by reinforcing basic skills. For example, take advantage of teachable moments by talking about and pointing out shapes. There are numerous examples in your daily routine at home.Talk with your children and say things like, “I see you are looking at a book that is a rectangle. You like eating that triangle sandwich, don’t you?” You will be teaching your child valuable language skills as well as shape differences. The outside world also is full of shapes. Look at the many shapes on your house and neighbors’ houses. Are the windows square or rectangular? Do you see a circular wreath on the door? Are those rectangular bricks or circular stones? Show your child the round fruits at the grocery store and the circular tires on cars. During the holidays, both indoors and outside, your child will see many shapes in decorations, foods and cultural objects used to observe the season. Take advantage of the many interesting activities that are plentiful during this time, accentuating the facts of using colors and shapes. Here are a few to try: Paper Chain Patterns Using the traditional colors of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or another holiday, make paper chains that follow a pattern. To make chains, cut 1-inch-wide strips of construction paper. Make the loops as long as you wish. Glue one strip into a circle. Thread another strip through the circle, overlap ends and then glue again. Give instructions designating a certain pattern to follow, such as two red loops followed by one green loop, then two black loops (Kwanzaa). Complete the chain with this same pattern. Consider easier or more difficult patterns according to your child’s age and skill level. Holiday Stars Cut two equilateral triangles from construction paper. Glue the triangles together (points in opposite direction) forming a star. Discuss that the sides of the triangle are the same size. Another idea is to use craft sticks to form another star. Glue three sticks together at each end to form a triangle. Do the same with another three sticks. Now, glue one triangle on top of the other in opposite directions. After it is dried, paint the star in holiday colors. Enhance it with decorative items such as glitter, sequins, faux jewels and/or buttons. Gift Wrap Collage This activity incorporates colors as well as shapes. Cut holiday wrapping paper into different geometric shapes. Cut rectangle strips from ribbons and provide adhesive colored circles (found in office supply stores). Let your children creatively glue these together on a sheet of construction paper to create a holiday collage. Rectangle Tree Cut rectangles of various lengths from green construction paper. Arrange the pieces from shortest at the top to longest at the bottom, discussing the concepts of short and long. Tape a length of yarn or ribbon to the back of the rectangles in the order arranged to make a tree mobile. Children can decorate the trees with crayons, holiday stickers and glitter. Hopstars Cut 8-to-10-inch stars out of construction paper. Tape these onto the floor forming a pattern (straight lines or geometric shapes). Indicate the starting star and the path to follow. Hop from one star to another until the path is completed. You can vary the motions from hopping to skipping, galloping, crawling and twirling through the path. 3-D Tree Cut paper towel tubes into rings 1 inch wide. Glue the rings together to form a tree shape (three on the bottom, two above, ending with one). Paint and decorate as desired. CD Ornaments Save scratched and outdated CDs. Cut felt in different shapes and collect glitter, confetti or stickers. Glue felt shapes onto the CD and add the trim. When the kids are finished decorating, put a string through the middle and use as an ornament or stick a picture of the child in the middle and put a magnet on the back. Both make great gifts for family and friends! Tania Cowling is an author, former early childhood teacher and mother.