Teaching young children new things and watching their eyes light up can be utterly delightful. Introducing little learners to shapes can be quite tricky, given the fact that there are so many of them. Spatial recognition of different shapes forms an integral part of mental development.
One of the most fundamental shapes is the square. But do you often contemplate how to teach these young minds about the square shape? Well, several innovative methods are used, which you can use to teach your preschooler to identify the square shape and distinguish it from others.
Just like we covered the various activities for other shapes like triangles, in this post, we will dig deeper and look into one such method, which is introducing the square shape through various fun-filled activities.
Activities for teaching square shape to little learners
1. Pop stick Builders
Employing handy manipulatives is often a great activity idea to teach little ones. Being relatively harmless, pop sticks or earbuds can be a great take-in. To start this activity, hand over the kids with some pop sticks each. Show them various objects which are square-shaped to let them retain what the shape is. Now, ask them to construct a square using the pop sticks offered to them. Wait for some time to comprehend if they could build one. You can later assist them to make a square to demonstrate. This activity makes them realize that a square always has equal sides subconsciously.
2. Square Espy
Kids often love to play spot the difference game. Implementing this strategy in an activity can make it engaging. Square Espy needs the instructor to produce a picture that has squares easily recognizable. For instance, a picture of a building with four square windows and a couple of square balloons on it. The teacher may show it to students and ask them to find out and count the number of squares in that picture. This activity amplifies the ability to recognize squares in little ones in real life effortlessly.
3. Square Rhymes
Rhymes have always been one of the best sources for kids to grasp entities around them. The same is the case with squares too. Here is a Rhyme for instance:
From a sandwich to the window glass,
This is the shape having four sides is what I’m taught in class.
Four corners, equal sides, and in between, a whole lot of space,
Is what brings a square in place!
Apart from giving a sense of amusement, kids retain various attributes of a square. From the above rhyme, they can effortlessly recall that a square has four equal sides and four corners.
4. Squaring out
Traditionally, whenever students need to mark answers among various options, they circle out their choice. Fascinatingly, the teacher can ask them to square out the answer instead. Say, the instructor needs to conduct a test, they can give out worksheets and ask the students to mark out answers in squares. To motivate them further, additional marks for correctly marked squares can be offered. This activity lets them retain what they have learned about squares. Moreover, this strategy can be applied at any time and in any activity.
5. Square Monster
To start with, the teacher would need at least three boxes and a set of balls. Three different shapes are drawn on the boxes, one being square. For example, a triangle, a circle along with a square. These three boxes are monsters, which need to be fed with the balls. Now a kid is called upon. Teachers ask them to feed square monsters with the ball. The little one needs to identify the right monster and feed it by putting a ball inside it. This activity lets learners distinguish between different shapes and squares. To make it further intriguing, different shapes including a square can be used to identify and feed the monster.
6. Assemble & Sort Square
The activity is facile and the teacher may need beads and buttons that are of different sizes and shapes including square ones. The kid is the king of the square army and has to kick off a war. To get ready for the same, the king (student) needs to assemble square objects into their forces. To start with, the teacher gives the little one a bowl full of beads and buttons. The kids need to sort out all the square ones into another bowl, adding strength to their army. This activity not only teaches them to identify and distinguish squares among other shapes but also improves motor skills as they learn to hold tiny props.
7. Identifying Game
You might have to get a few other adults or children to help you out with this set of activities. Cut out squares, triangles, circles, and diamonds. Color each shape differently, such that even the same shapes don’t have the same colors. Once you have got many of these, stick them on a large board (around 50 shapes overall). Let the child or children pick out all the squares by pointing them out and collecting the ones that they pointed out. See how many they get right.
You can also make this game more interesting and challenging by timing the students. For example, collect all the squares in under 1 minute. This will also boost up the kid’s reflex skills and build a skillset to identify the shape promptly.
Manipulatives – check these readily available learning tools
The activities stated above can be effective in classrooms as well as at home. At a personal level, parents and mentors can employ some readily available daily-life entities to demonstrate as an example of the square. Be it a square photo frame, clock, or a stamp one must look into stimulating their little one to spot them.
- Paper Napkins are often square in shape, show these at dinners as an instance,
- The chessboard is full of black and white squares, see if the toddler can identify these. Parents can also ask them to count the number of squares
- Let the kid identify the slice of Bread being square during a breakfast
- Comprehending dice as a square can be a great idea. Evidently, these are three-dimensional, each face is square.
- A slice/cube of cheese on their favorite Pizza can help them identify the shape
Daily home chore activities to indulge kids
Learning new notions seldom starts at home. Taking this as an added edge, parents can guide toddlers to indulge in some home chores, making them grasp the square finer.
1. Sandwich Saucing:
Kids often love having sandwiches in their meals. Parents may ask them to apply or pour sauce on it in a square shape and then apply it evenly. This makes them draw squares, implicitly practicing it.
2. Cloth Folding:
At the time of cloth folding, parents can indulge their kids as well. Give them the handkerchiefs to fold. Try asking them to identify napkins by their shape and let them fold them. Wait for them to notice that these are still square after being folded. If not, try to remind them about the same.
3. Cookie Doughing:
Parents can ask the help of kids to make their favorite cookies at home by assisting in activities like giving shapes to the dough. They may ask little ones to prepare a square-shaped dough to be baked and see if they could realize and prepare.
4. Random Question and answers:
Not only in sandwiches, clothing, or doughing but random questions can also be asked anywhere. For instance, while watching movies, parents may ask kids to identify square objects in the scene. These questions stipulate their subconscious mind to stimulate notions learned.
5. Finding squares in the room:
Parents, guardians, and educators can ask children to find a particular square object in the room. For example: Can you look for a square cushion in this room? Or maybe, can you find the square diary? This will help children identify and grow their consciousness about the square shapes in the room and the house.
Remember to appreciate your toddler every time they get something right. For example, whenever they pick out the square correctly, clap or smile and praise openly. Make wall art out of the creative works produced as part of the experience. Once they have identified the square shape correctly, it is good to mix in a few shapes and test whether they can recognize the square from other shapes. Keep a watch out for our posts to learn how to teach your preschooler even more things in fun ways.
An engineer, Maths expert, Online Tutor and animal rights activist. In more than 5+ years of my online teaching experience, I closely worked with many students struggling with dyscalculia and dyslexia. With the years passing, I learned that not much effort being put into the awareness of this learning disorder. Students with dyscalculia often misunderstood for having just a simple math fear. This is still an underresearched and understudied subject. I am also the founder of Smartynote -‘The notepad app for dyslexia’,