Kindergarten is solely responsible for early cognitive development in children. What one learns during these years lay the foundation for a child’s academic life. These first few years are spent teaching children the English alphabet, numbers, names of animals and plants, and much more.
Besides teaching children how to write words and count numbers, certain habits including, but not limited to, habits of cleanliness and personal hygiene are also taught. Manners and etiquettes are taught to these tiny tots to ensure they project good behavior.
The ability of recognition and differentiation
Developing the ability to identify and recognize various colors and shapes remains the primary focus of teachers. The reason behind this is that the world can be split up into several components. Each of these components can be identified with a different shape and color.
For instance, consider a child’s kindergarten classroom. You can categorize them into several components that constitute the classroom: windows, doors, blackboards, and tables. All these components vary in their shapes from one. Similarly, this concept can be applied to everything that we see in the world around us.
It is safe to conclude that learning shapes at such a tender age are necessary. Identifying objects based on shapes is one of the keys to categorization. Moreover, the ability to recognize colours comes along naturally. Kids may spot many objects of the same or similar shape that vary only in their colour. It is when the ability to differentiate based on colours helps row the boat.
The learning stages
The learning ability among children varies according to four phases, which was demonstrated by Jean Piaget. His theory of cognitive development explains that children grow up surpassing four stages of cognitive development. He theoretically emphasizes on cognitive development and the nature of intelligence. His theory showed the existence of the following four stages:
- The sensorimotor stage is when a child goes through from birth until he is two years old.
- Preoperational stage – It is the stage that a child undergoes from ages 2 to 7.
- The concrete operational stage – It is the stage that a child undergoes from ages 7 to 11.
- The formal operational stage – It is the stage that a child undergoes from 12 and beyond.
If you carefully assess the four stages, you can safely conclude that the learning phase among kids starts from as early as two years.
Most kids are enrolled into preschools and kindergarten when they are under the preoperational stage of cognitive development.
Piaget chose to believe that kids act like scientists. The only difference is that kids have no prior knowledge of what they are doing. They experiment with things, observe the consequences and interact with their external environments, just as scientists do.
They build upon whatever little knowledge they have to make their existing knowledge database stronger and better. They are accustomed to creating new information based on what they observe and learn.
Hence, it is this phase that is the most crucial. Kids can grasp as many things as you teach them. And what better than shapes to teach them how the world is structured?
Some more reasons why children must learn shapes
The high school recognizes mathematics as the most crucial subject. Trigonometry, algebra, mensuration, and geometry are essential modules that every student learns through his or her academic life course.
Most of us think that these concepts are introduced in high school. However, factually speaking, a lot of groundwork is done in kindergarten and elementary school. A child taught well about shapes in kindergarten can construct, deconstruct, establish spatial relations, and compare and construct geometrical figures and identities. Building blocks and other similar games are a way to teach an interest in geometry and other similar concepts in kids’ minds.
There may be several ways to teach tiny tots the concept of shapes and honing their identification and categorization skills. However, making it fun and exciting will help them retain the outcome for times to come. The adjectives’ fun’ and ‘exciting’ go hand-in-hand with activities and games.
Perhaps, games are the best way to enhance and develop cognitive ability in kids.
Here is a list of some shape learning activities that will help the tiny tots identify and categorize shapes and build them when the need arises.
Interesting Shape Learning Activities For Kindergarten
1. Feed the hungry monster – An imagination based game
Feeding the hungry monster will enhance the identification and recognition abilities among kids. It is easy to host kind of game and requires the bare minimum items readily available within your home or the child’s playschool.
Take a few cardboard sheets and cut them into the four basic shapes – square, rectangle, triangle, and circle. Make them sufficiently big enough and paint them either in identical colors or different colors. You can stick gobbly eyes on them to make them look more life-like. Make sure you cut out a hole in each of these shapes that will serve as the mouth.
Next, take another sheet of cardboard and cut out the same shapes as previously, but in much smaller dimensions. Cut out about twenty shapes of each variety, but in different sizes. It is suggested that you first paint this sheet of cardboard and then cut it into the desired shape. Once the paint dries, place all the shapes in a tray. You can make this an individual task or divide the kids into groups and hand them the tray.
The aim is to sort out the shapes and put them through the respective life-like shapes we call the monsters.
Takeaways: recognition & identification of shapes, handling & moving the pieces out of the tray, hand & eyes coordination
2. Sticky shape bug activity
Sticky shape bug activity is another fun game for tiny tots. It is aimed at enhancing the imagination and recognition ability of these young minds. For conducting this simple activity:
- Take contact paper that would suffice.
- Make sure that the backing paper remains intact.
- Draw a scenery of your choice on the clear side of the contact paper.
- Make sure the scenery that you are drawing is geometrical and easy to comprehend.
Now bring some foam shapes and place them in a tray. Roll out the contact paper to the kids and hand them the try containing the shapes. The aim is to bring them to stick the foam shapes on the contact paper. At first, they may not be able to make head or tail of it, so you will have to sit down with them and show them how it is done.
Kids are smart. They will follow you, and soon, you can quietly scoot and make way for them!
Takeaways: Concentration, imagination, colour identification and shape sorting.
3. Tossing the ball
To conduct a ‘tossing the ball’ game, you will need some colored tapes and a safe-to-play handball or football—tape out the basic shapes on the floor. Since you will have to scrape out the tape, it is best to ensure that you use tapes that do not leave a mark.
Next, call in the kids one by one and ask them to roll out the ball gently. It will land on one or the other shape that you have taped onto the ground. Ask the respective child to describe the shape on which his or her ball landed. You can allot four tries to each child.
Takeaways: Physical exercise, shape recognition, memory recall.
4. Making shapes with clay
As easy as it may sound to your ears, you will need some clay and cardboard. Cut out the four basic shapes – the square, the rectangle, the circle, and the triangle from the cardboard and paint them in different colors. Please make sure they are huge enough to be visible to the entire class.
Place them at one end of the class. Hand in non-toxic clay to all the kids. The aim is to get them to carve out all the shapes that they see. You can add some twists to make it more interesting. For instance, you can hand them clays in different colours and instruct them to make tiny replicas with the same colour as the reference.
Takeaways: Colour & shape identification, enhanced comprehension ability (of your instructions.
5. Shape wands
For this activity, gather some popsicles and coloured cardboard. You have to cut out the cardboard into small pieces. You can include some other shapes like that of the star and the moon. Stick a popsicle behind one shape of each kind.
Here you will drive the kids to categorize the shapes and place them along with the popsicle shape that is their magic wand. Alternatively, take the kids around a walk within your environment and hand them one wand each. Ask them to identify the objects that have a similar shape as their wand. On spotting a similarly shaped object, you can ask the kids to recite a poem of their choice.
Takeaways: Enhanced communication skills, memory recall, recitation, identification and sorting.
6. Shape art
This game will aid in memorizing the names of the shapes by identifying them. It would help if you had some paint, building blocks (3D triangles, squares, circles, and rectangles, or – cone, cubes, spheres, and cuboids, respectively), and chart papers.
Divide the kids into groups and hand one chart paper to each group. Dip the building blocks into paint and make the kids press the blocks onto the chart paper while reciting the shape’s name. You can use different colored paints and ask them to name the color as well.
Takeaways: Shape and colour identification, memory recall and recitation.
The number of games you can conduct is boundless. Conventionally, there were only indoor and outdoor games. But these days, due to the advent of technology, there are online games for the same purpose. Another variant for shape-based games and activities is printable board-based activities. You can download or print the game template based on your requirement and use them for the designated purpose in such variants of games. However, offline and conventional gaming methods are a lot more creative and involve physical movements that enhance kids’ hand-eye coordination.