Hello and welcome to another Tot School Tuesday where See Vanessa Craft and Mine for the Making team up to bring you activities, teaching tips, crafts, games that are all geared towards your tots and preschoolers.
I hope you all had a beautiful Easter weekend! I know we sure did.
Today I have invited one of my Instagram friends over to share some of her AWESOME teaching ideas with us! Please welcome my sweet friends, Suzie…
Hi, my name is Suzie and I am a Home Educating Mum of three young children. I have just started blogging at Suzie’s Home Education Ideas where I share the play-based learning activities that we do at home. I am most honored to be guest posting here today and thank you Kara for inviting me to share my ideas on Tot School Tuesday.
I thought I would share with you all one of our favourite home-made resources that we called Shape Mats, and three activities we use with these shape mats to learn about and play with shapes. We made our shape mats from recycling an old anti-static mat. These anti-static mats have a lot of grip and are great to jump on so I cut out different shapes making them varied in size.
The first learning game we play is called “Jump on the shape Mummy says”. We start by spreading our shapes all over the floor and Mummy (that’s me!) calls out the name of a shape and you have find that shape and jump on it as fast as you can. We practice taking-turns at who calls out the shape names and who does the jumping. The great thing about this game is that all my children are involved and they are all learning about shape recognition, how to take turns as well as building gross motor skills as they play.
During this activity, we also work on our vocabulary development by using different action words (verbs, for my older child) to move onto the next shape. Sometimes we like to hop onto the shape, or slide, wiggle, dance, crawl, tip-toe, sneak or squirm. These action words can really get the giggles happening!
The second activity we like to do with our shape mats is to sort them. My children will take one of each shape (usually the biggest one), lay them in a line and sort the rest of the shapes by placing them in the right pile. In this activity, they are learning about early mathematical concept of matching as they visually discriminate which shapes match and which ones don’t then place them in the right pile. This activity builds on shape recognition as well as fine motor development as they move the shapes around. They are also learning about cooperation as they work together.
Our third learning activity focuses on the early mathematical concept of comparing and ordering according to size. By having different size shapes, we are able used the language ‘big, bigger and biggest’ (or small, medium, large) to compare the shapes and place them in order. This activity also helps my younger children understand perceptual constancy as they see that the shape is still a circle whether it is big or small.
One thing I love about children is that they have an amazing imagination that can be seen through dramatic play. My daughter loves to take our shape mats and pretend that she is making pizza. Even though there is no focused learning concept here, my daughter is still learning about shapes while she plays. Never underestimate the value of play!
There are many more different play-based activities you can do with shape mats like these that promote learning through play. Other ideas could be making patterns with these shape mats or going on a shape hunt after all the mats have been hidden around the place. What other ideas could you use to promote play and learning with these shape mats?
I hope this post has inspired you to make your own shape mats and to encourage your children to learn through play.
Now it’s time to head over to See Vanessa Craft for more Tot School Ideas…
Then be sure to link up your Tot School ideas below! Any kid-friendly activity, craft, game, or teaching tip applies…