Learning Anywhere, Every Day
Part 1 of 12 - Life Is Shaping Up
22 March 2017
Encouraging your child’s mathematical learning and visual perception is really a simple, everyday thing. All you have to do is talk about shapes you see everyday. The ability to see shapes and their differences is basic to your child’s later learning to identify letter shapes, which is a pre-reading skill.
Here are some simple suggestions to help your preschooler focus on what makes shapes alike and different. Plus, this is a daily opportunity to introduce new and math-y words to their vocabulary:
Look out for those street signs! When you see a triangular yield sign, point out that it has three sides. Older two’s and three’s can usually count to three, so ask them to join in. When you see a pentagonal school-crossing sign, invite your child to count the five sides with you. Remember, some three’s and most fours can count to five. Keep your eyes peeled for other shapes too, such as rectangular doors and round manhole covers.
Your recycling bin is a goldmine that holds a wealth of things you can use to talk with your child about two-dimensional and three-dimensional shapes. Ask, What shape are those paper towel rolls? Introduce the word “cylinder” if you haven’t done so yet. Most preschoolers 3 and older like to learn new and “big” words, so “cylinder” is a good word for them. Now, what about the oatmeal container? Another cylinder, for sure. Cereal boxes are great for getting aquainted with the idea of three-dimensional objects. Flatten them out and they become two-dimensional. Dimensional words are great for preschoolers four and older. Your kitchen is another great place to discover daily shapes, just think about all of those pots, pans, glasses ...
When you’re pushing your cart around the grocery, spot more shapes! Cylinders are stacked in the soup section. See oranges and onions? Point out that they are spheres, another fun “big” word for 3’s and older. What other spheres can you see in the produce department? How are they alike, how are they different? Play a game while you are shopping-- How many different shapes can you find? And when you are checking out, as you put each item on the conveyor belt, talk about their shapes. What shapes are the apples? What shapes are the oranges? What about those carrots? Which one is bigger or smaller?
Go ahead and make shape spotting a fun habit for you and your child. I’m sure you will come up with many more ways to include these basic concepts in your daily activities with your preschooler, so let us know what works for you-- we're happy to hear your feedback right here!
When you’re out and about with your preschooler, add Skilly-do activities Objects in Motion and Colors in Action to enhance your shape searching. Looking for more ways to support your child's early math skills? Check out my blog Support Your Child's Tinkering - It's Full STEAM Ahead!
Up next in our 12 part series, Learning Anywhere, Every Day … #2, Walkabouts!