Learning about shapes is an essential life skill and one that is taught from a young age. For children of kindergarten age to retain this information, it’s important to make it fun and playful. An effective way to teach 2D shapes is by artistically presenting them. Here are our best ideas.
Shape writing in sand
Most kids love sand so teaching them to draw shapes via this method is sure to be a hit. To do this, you’ll need some cards with a different shape on each of them and a small container of sand, preferably coloured but plain is fine. Place a shape card in front of the child and ask them to draw it in the sand using their finger, once they have mastered this shape, they can move on to the next.
Getting creative with shapes
Each week pick a shape, everyone in the class has to identify something that is that shape and paint it. For instance, if a circle is the shape of the week, they can paint a ball, sun etc. They can get inspiration by looking for things that have a circle shape in the classroom or play area as directed by you. If some children are struggling to find circle-shaped objects, provide them with examples. You can run with the circle theme all week and include it in all their craft activities. By focusing on one shape rather than jumping to different ones, it makes it easier for them to remember them.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a preschool aged child that doesn’t like playdough. This is an interactive and artistic way to work on their 2D shape skills. For some kids, it may be tricky to make a shape using their hands alone, so to make it easier, get them to use shape cookie cutters. First, get them to roll the dough flat and thin, then once they have pushed the cutter down into the playdough to create the shape, ask them what it is.
This task involves having a selection of cards with all different shaped objects on them and a piece of paper that has been divided down the middle. One side of the paper will have the shape (insert) written on it and the other side will say not this (insert) shape. Give the child a shape card and a handful of mixed shaped cards, they will then have to sort out which ones are the shape and which ones are not. Once they have sorted the shapes into their correct side, they get a different shape and do the same.
Make a shape book
Letting the kids make a shape book of their own lets them get as artistic as they like. They can make their book about one shape or many. Encourage them to use colour and different textures to decorate each page to make it special. Rather than getting them to make the entire book in one day, get them to do one page at a time, the more effort they put into each page, the nicer it will be.
Shape bead art
Coloured wooden shape beads are individual beads in various shapes and colours. Ask each child to pick a shaped bead to make some artwork out of it, they’ll need a handful each. Some ideas include making a necklace from their chosen bead shape or getting the children to draw the shape using a glue stick on a piece of coloured paper and directing them to stick their shape beads on to the glued area. For this, it’s best to use a coloured glue stick so it’s easier to see where they have glued.
Making shapes with potato stamps
Using some potatoes, cut an assortment of shapes to make a stamp. Have a selection of paint colours on offer and allow the children to choose a stamp and colours they’d like. Let them get creative stamping on a piece of paper. Using a roll of paper makes for unique wrapping paper.
Instruct the class to gather a collection of different shaped items that they can find outside, this can be rocks, bark or anything else they discover from nature. Have a sheet with different shapes on them and get them to match the item with the shape.
Crepe paper shape collage
Cut crepe paper in a variety of shapes and colours. Separate the shapes into different containers and place them in front of the class. Give each child a piece of paper and some glue and get them to make a collage using the pieces of crepe paper.
Toothpick shapes allow you to teach sides and vertices. Using toothpicks and a variety of shape cards, get your students to arrange the toothpicks over the shapes on the cards. Just don’t leave your kindergarteners with the toothpicks unattended as they can be a hazard.
We hope this post has given you some inspiration on how to teach your students 2D shapes in artistic ways. Remember, these are only some of many creative options, you are only limited by your imagination. Here at Little Saints, we are dedicated to providing our students with fun, play-based learning that will prepare them for the next stage of their school journey. For more information, get in touch today.