While the holidays are a time to take a break and spend time with family, there are lots of ways to learn engage toddlers and preschoolers without having a formal time to do it. In fact you and your little one(s) can practice learning shapes while enjoying the holidays and Christy from Thriving STEM gives some great simple ways to do so in her guest post this week. Stop by her site, say hello, and mention how much you loved this awesome list!
The Christmas holidays are here and there are so many wonderful things to do with our little ones! You should not waste your time “accomplishing preschool” when you could be enjoying the beauty and the stories of the season. Really, you shouldn’t.
That does not mean your preschooler needs to stop learning. You can easily study all kinds of things, including shapes, while thoroughly enjoying Christmas. Here are some tips for learning about shapes while celebrating to the fullest with your preschooler or toddler.
- Target one shape each week. Preschoolers and toddlers learn many things at the same time, but I find that I teach better if I just have a few objectives in mind each week. Of course, if my child is interested and asking questions, we follow his rabbit trail. Give yourself a defined target by concentrating on circles this week, and triangles next week.
- Notice your target shape when you are and your preschooler are already studying a scene. This time of year there are special displays and beautiful pictures every where. Spend some time just enjoying the beauty in front of you. When you sense that your child has had time to soak in scene, point out where your shape appears in the picture by saying something like, “Hey, look, all the windows in that house are squares!”
- Make your target shape part of your art and craft times. Christmas is a great time to do all kinds of creating. There are special cookies to bake, cards to draw, and trees to decorate. Just once during your activity purposely make the target shape and point it out to your child. You might say, “Look, I just made a green triangle to be the Christmas tree on this card.” This is especially helpful for parents like me who are not naturally crafty. By concentrating on the simple shapes, I can make better pictures. Meanwhile, my genuine effort in participating in craft time, motivates my children
- Make shapes while playing with toys. I hope that you find some great hands-on toys among your child’s gifts this year. While you are playing is a great time to do a little preschool geometry. Place the blocks in a circle and try to make a cylinder shaped tower, or try to form a pyramid.
- Find regular shapes out and about. Everything has a shape. Make a point to notice the shapes along the road or in the check-out line. To a toddler, even the fact that road signs are rectangles can be an exciting new discovery.
- Notice the relationships between shapes. You might find that the bottom of your Christmas tree is a circle, but if you look at it from the side it looks like a triangle. Older children might be ready to think about how the shapes combine to make a cylinder.
- Let your child point out whatever shapes and relationships interest her. “I Spy” is our favorite game for waiting or driving long distances in the car. You can ask your child, “What shapes do you see right now?” as a variation.
If you have been working on shapes for a week or two, do not be surprised if your preschooler suddenly wants to identify shapes all the time and everywhere. Encourage them by getting excited about their discoveries with them. You know that you have met your goal when learning becomes an adventure that adds to your celebrations, rather than a task that has to detract. Have fun learning shapes, and Merry Christmas!
More From Thriving STEM
Christy McGuire is a trained physics teacher who loves developing new ways for students to engage with science. While taking a break from the high school classroom, Christy rediscovered that young children are tons of fun, and can learn powerful science and math too. Now she is attempting to cross the excitement of early childhood style learning with serious STEM study to benefit students on both ends of the learning process. Find activities and reflections on STEM learning on her blog: www.ThrivingSTEM.com.
More Holiday Ideas:
Please be sure to show this guest author some love. Many wonderful & talented bloggers have helped me over the years so I can take a maternity leave with each child. Others have graciously offered to share valuable information with you.
Find their profile above, click the links for more or to follow them!