In the first post of this series I shared the skills kids can practice while doing shapes crafts. Today I am sharing the step-by-step plan I use to guide my kids through creating shapes crafts.
Sometimes as adults we want to rush through the process and get to the end result, and our kids quickly learn that from us. I try really hard to take my time with these activities so that the kids can engage in all of the possibilities for learning.
You will see that there is a lot covered in the steps below. We don’t do a ton of teacher(mommy)-directed activities, so when we do I try to cover as many topics as I can.
Use your best judgment about what to focus on with your kids and for how long. Some days mine are so engaged that we do everything just as it is planned. Other days they need a break, so we break the steps up into smaller chunks. Go along with their moods; it’s easier for everyone!
To prepare for the activity, I make each child two identical bags. Each bag has all the shapes needed to make one craft. You don’t have to make two bags but I find that it helps with the individual creativity step.
At this point I do still cut out the pieces. Since this has a lot of focus on shape recognition I want the pieces to closely resemble the intended shape. If you have more experienced cutters, then they could cut out the pieces.
After the materials are prepped these are the steps we follow…
1) I give the kids one bag and let them explore the shapes for a little bit. Usually they start making observations about the shapes and predictions about what we might be making.
2) Once they have looked at all the shapes, I then describe a shape by naming its color, size, and shape. If there is more than one of those shapes, I also mention that. Then the kids find the shape(s) and place them on their work space. This step gives us a chance to talk about the shapes and get organized for our activity. It also gives me a way to monitor which shapes each child knows and which ones we still need to practice.
3) Next we count how many shapes we have in all. This is just one more easy way to practice one-to-one correspondence and counting.
4) Once we have all the shapes laid out on our work space, I ask the kids to make some observations. Yes, go ahead and use that big word. They love it, and it is great vocabulary development for them. You may have to do a little modeling the first few times as they get used to describing and comparing the shapes, but they will get more comfortable with practice.
5) Then I ask the kids if they would like to see what I created with these shapes. I talk aloud and describe the shapes again as I model where each piece goes.
6) Next I ask the kids what they would like to do next. Would you like to make what I made or use the shapes to create something on your own? They almost always want to make what I made first, and that is why I prepare two bags for each child. I really want them to spend some time using the shapes on their own, too.
The next steps may be in a different order depending on what your kids choose.
7) As we finally make the craft, I try to use as much positional vocabulary as I can to describe where to put each shape. And if I have modified the basic shapes in any way to work with the craft then I stop to talk the kids through what I did. For example, if I cut a circle into two half circles or a trapezoid into three triangles, I stop and show them how I did this. Then we usually find a special place to hang our creations like we did with all of our farm animals and our cardboard barn.
8) Then it is time to get creative. I give the kids the second bag that has the exact same set of shapes. I challenge them to play with the pieces a bit and see what they can create. If they seem a bit stuck, I might model moving the shapes around a bit as I talk aloud about what I am doing. The more we do this the easier it is getting for them to think beyond our original craft.
Some days they want to glue them together, so we do. Some days we take pictures of their different creations, and then place the shapes back in the bag and store them in our art area where they can use them to create another time.
How do you guide kids through creating shapes crafts?