Saturday, May 15, 2010

Fit the pieces

This activity is from a great book called GAMES TO PLAY WITH TODDLERS. I am currently borrowing it and will highlight some of our favorites! Here's one we tried today, and a few of my extensions.
We got an old cereal box out of the recycling bin and opened it up. I found 3 cookie cutters and I traced them on the cardboard. As we worked, Q and I talked about each shape, where she wanted me to trace it, what color she wanted me to use (I traced two of each shape and used the same color for both times), and I verbally described what I was doing as I traced the shape.
I went ahead and colored in the shapes, because she drew on the cardboard, too, and that made it hard to see the outlines of the shapes, so I colored them in to make them show up more.

Then we practiced matching the cookie cutters to the shapes. Q lost interest at this point, so we put the activity up to work on again another time. Next time we will just begin with the naming of the shapes and colors and the matching game.

-use other objects besides cookie cutters
-let older children do the tracing themselves or help younger children trace with hand-over-hand help
-add more shapes for older children
-let older children cut out the shapes after they have traced them
-after tracing the shapes, let the child paint them
-let the child glue small objects (sequins, beans, cheerios, buttons, confetti, etc.) around the border of each shape or even fill in each shape
-cut the shapes out of fabric or felt

This activity practices matching (visual discrimination necessary for reading and writing), shape awareness, fine motor skills (tracing is one of the best ways for preschoolers to practice the fine motor skills they will need to write and draw), color awareness, and just some good ole fun playing a game!

I have several full-time working moms that wonder how to fit teaching and funtime in with their children in the short time they have together. I am an on-again, off-again full-time working mommy. Right now I am back at work for a while. So one way I fit fun/teaching time in with my little one is on the go. While we are sitting waiting at restaurants or in line at the store, we take advantage of the time! Three cookie cutters, 3 markers and a piece of rolled-up paper fit in a purse or diaper bag so easily and this activity is perfect for on the go! Yesterday was a crazy day and we did a long bday lunch for a friend at Joe's Crab Shack and a special dinner with some family at a mexican restaurant, and this activity would have been perfect for those times.
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