A simple way to help young children learn about 2D shapes and their properties through hands-on play.
Years ago I found a way to help preschoolers with their handwriting with one simple DIY project that can be ready in less than 20 minutes. The same tool I used to teach young children handwriting can also be used to teach them about 2D shape.
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Children learn best through play so creating hands-on experiences I know will engage my students is a must in my job as an Early Years teacher. Few children can resist playing with naturally found objects. They are tactile, sensory rich and, often, easy to find making them the perfect choice for creating invitations to play at preschool and school.
Many of you already know how much I love using rocks to create play prompts. Our mix and match people are even starring in their own movie now! A while ago I had seen a collection of rock provocations from Creative Star Learning. It was such a simple idea but I saw so many different ways these could be used. I've used them to teach handwriting to my youngest students and they're perfect to introducing 2D shapes too.
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The most powerful part of this DIY resource is the conversation it allows you to have with your students - helping to build and extend their vocabularies. After collecting some rocks, I drew some hand drawn lines on one side. Straight lines, curved lines and some with both curved and straight lines with the intention of using them to explore lines with my students.
I also drew some different angles - right angles, obtuse angles and acute angles to enable different shapes to be created.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
YOU WILL NEED -
* some smooth flat rocks about 5-10 centimetres in size (collect your own or I bought my rocks from the garden section of our local hardware store)
* a Liquid Chalk marker (you can grab a 4 pack Liquid Chalk Markers or alternatively these Giotto Permanent Pens are great)
After cleaning your rocks by giving them a quick scrub in water and letting them dry, use your chalk maker to draw a collection of different lines on one side of the rock. Make sure you include straight lines and a mix of different angles on some rocks.
After introducing the rocks at circle time, the children then could try and create their own shapes with or without the help of these shape cards from Confessions of a Homeschooler. It was a perfect way to children to build some different 2D shapes to help reinforce what they knew about their properties. It also provide a useful way to remind our students that 2D shapes are what we can see, touch or draw whereas 3D shapes we can hold as well.