Introduce the topic with a shape detective game!
Materials needed: Colour paddle (or see below for instructions to make your own), paper, marker, pen.

Activity instructions:

1. Use your pen to draw shapes on pieces of white paper.
2. Use a marker (the same colour as your colour paddle) to colour over top of your drawing and words, making it hard to see the pen underneath.
3. Invite your child to discover the mystery shapes using the colour paddle. When you place the paddle over the paper, only the pen will appear ~ the coloured marker will be eliminated by the colour paddle.

To make your own colour paddle, simply cut the shape of 2 magnifying glasses from a cereal or cracker box. Cut another shape (just slightly smaller than the others) from a transparent coloured sheet (I used a project divider in the photo →) to place between the two cardboard pieces. Tape or glue all three pieces together and voila, your very own colour paddle!

Questions and conversation during this activity:
“What do you notice about these two shapes?”
“How many shapes have we all together? Let’s count them together!””
“That shape has a lot of straight lines. It doesn’t have any curves.”

Keep in mind your child’s skill level and make sure to set them up for success while challenging their abilities. If you think this will be easy for your child, try using 3D shapes.

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Make your Own Shape Sorter!  (Math)
Materials needed: Muffin tray, foam shapes (or shapes cut from paper, cereal boxes, or other recycled materials), tape, marker or pen to label shapes.

Activity instructions:

1. Stick a different shape into each hole of the muffin tray using your tape. If you are able, label each shape with its name.
2. Invite your child to match and sort the rest of the shapes into the corresponding holes.

There are a thousand ways to sort and match shapes with your child at home:

• Cut clear shelf-liner into shapes. Tape the shelf-liner shapes to a flat surface (eg, the window) with the sticky side facing up. Invite your child to sort and match their paper or foam shapes onto the sticky surfaces.
• Use a cardboard box and your child’s wooden blocks (or other toys that resemble a shape. You could even use some items from your recycling bin!). Trace and cut the shapes on the top of your cardboard box. Voila, your very own shape sorter!
• Use masking tape to make several shapes on the floor. Invite your child to collect toys that could fit into each shape category and organize accordingly.
• Use a fruit tray or an ice cube tray to sort and match your shapes.

Make it a bit harder for older children by incorporating safe kitchen tongs. Invite your child to manipulate their foam shapes or blocks using the tongs.

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Pasta Shapes (Sensory)
Materials needed: Cooked pasta.

Activity instructions:

1. Cook a little extra long pasta for dinner the night before (could be spaghetti or linguine).
2. Use the cooked pasta to make shapes!

Younger children may need a template to follow until they are more familiar with the properties of shapes. Click here to print basic shape templates for your child. Invite your child to manipulate the pasta to copy and cover the lines on the shape template.
Even younger children can fill cookie cutters or shape sorters with pasta (see the yellow placemat in the bottom photo).

Older children can make letters and pictures with their pasta shapes. For example you could use a square and a triangle to make a house.

At the Smart Cookie Club we like to add a bit of food colouring to the pasta to make it colourful! To do this, simply separate your pasta into 3 or 4 different bowls. Add a different colour of food colouring to each bowl and mix it up. Leave it for at least halk an hour to allow the pasta to soak up some of the colour.

Keep the cooked coloured pasta in the fridge (sealed in a ziplock bag) and reuse it for several days.

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Mark Making Bags (Science)
Materials needed: Zip lock bag, duct or packing tape, paint (if you don’t have paint, use shaving foam or pudding instead).

Activity instructions:
Put about 1/2C of paint (or shaving foam or pudding) in the ziplock bag and use the tape to seal it shut.
Tape this baggie to your window and spread the paint out inside the bag.
Use your finger to press the paint in the bag and make marks.  Encourage your child to try and make shapes using curvy and straight lines.
Try making a snowman using 3 circles stacked on top of one another, or a star!

Doing this against a window makes the marks more visible, but you can also attach the paint bag to any hard, flat surface (such as a table or wall).

For younger children use a permanent marker to draw a shape on the ziplock bag and invite your child to trace their finger over the marker. You can also seal a few small shapes inside the bag (such as shaped buttons, sequins or laminated paper shapes) and turn the activity into a shape hunt! Invite your child to find the shapes hidden inside the shaving foam bag. As they find the shapes, discuss the shape’s name and characteristics.

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Lacing Shapes (Fine motor)
Materials needed: Recycled cardboard or cereal box, hole punch, marker, string or yarn.

Activity Instructions:

1. Cut out different shapes from your cardboard and use your hole punch to make a series of holes around the edge of each shape.
2. Label each shape with its name.
3. Tie a string/yarn to each shape and invite your child to weave the string through the holes.
4. Put a piece of tape at the end of your string (the end your child will be using to weave) to make it easier to manipulate through the holes.
5. Invite your child to lace around the edge of the shape!

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Print Painting Shapes (Creative)
Materials needed: paper or recycled cardboard box (for painting on), paint (or pudding or fruit purees), paper or plastic cups and plates, other shaped safe kitchen items such as small tupperware containers or cookie cutters.

Activity instructions:

1. Place your paint on a plate and spread your paper on the table. If your paper is smaller, it is wise to put newspaper or an old tablecloth underneath to avoid extra mess.
2. Invite your child to use the cups and bowls and other items (which could represent different shapes) to dip in the paint and dab on the paper, making shape prints on the paper.

Older children may be able to use their shapes to make a picture (for example; use many circles in a row to make a caterpillar).

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Copying Shapes (Building)
Materials needed: Building blocks (the larger the better!), masking tape.

Activity instructions:

1. Use masking tape to make a structure on your wall at your child’s level (see photo). Make sure to replicate the shapes that will be available in your child’s block collection and consider the size as well.
2. You may need to set up the first part of the activity by placing the tape for your child ahead of time.
3. Invite your child to use their blocks to match the shapes and build a structure according to plan! Which shape will you need to use next?

You can adapt this activity for younger children by using your masking tape to make shapes on the floor.  Invite your child to drive their car along the tape, outlining the shapes as they drive their toy car along. You can also use blocks or other toys to cover the tape outline or fill it in, making your own shape creations.

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Making Popsicle Stick Shapes (Building)
Materials needed: Tongue depressors (or popsicle sticks), velcro (or magnetic strip/dots), glue gun (or strong glue)

Activity instructions:

1. Use your glue to stick the velcro onto the ends of the tongue depressors.
2. Make sure that each tongue depressor has a loop side of the velcro on one end and a catch side of the velcro on the other. Your child can use their markers to colour these or just leave them plain.
3. Younger toddlers will focus on taking the shapes apart before they begin to put them together. Build some shapes for your child and encourage him/her to explore!

A Math Variation For Preschoolers and Older Toddlers: If you don’t have any velcro or magnets at home, don’t worry, there is another simple way to play this game. Make shapes with your popsicle sticks, labelling the sticks with the number of lines in the shape and the shape’s name (see the photo for an example). Invite your child to sort the sticks and create the different shapes, paying special attention to the number of lines in each shape. Younger children will need to use coloured sticks (each colour representing a different shape - as shown in the photo).

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Shape Store (Cooperative Play)
Set up a little shape store for your child. Parents and siblings can come to buy shapes from their store. As ‘customers’ request different shapes they will need to sort and identify the different shapes requested. When ‘ordering’ shapes from the store, use descriptive language (for example, “I would like to buy a shape with three straight sides. The triangle has three straight sides, can I please see one of those?”). Younger children may need an example to which they can find a matching shape for you (for example: I have one triangle here” - show them your triangle “I would like to buy another triangle with three straight sides please.”

• Label the store front with the words “Shape Store”. Your store might be a closed cardboard box which you can use as the counter top.
• Cut shapes from cardboard or paper. (Or maybe you have some shape toys at home that you could use instead - especially with older children who are working on 3D shapes).
• Add a few shoe boxes. Label each box with a different shape (use a pictures and words) and invite your child to sort and organize all of the shapes at their store.
• A cash register and some pretend money. (If you don’t have these, try using a box that slides open to make your own. Add number stickers or draw the buttons on with markers. You can also make your own money using paper and markers or use poker chips as coins)
• An apron for the store clerk and a purse or wallet for the customer.

There are tons of ways to expand on this activity station. Look around your home to find recycled materials, shape toys and other props. Invite your child to help you add one of the above items each day to enhance their play through the week. Adding a new item creates a sense of novelty, making it exciting all over again.

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The Shape Hop (Movement)
Materials needed: Shapes cut from paper or cardboard (or re-use your lacing shapes) a speaker or way to play and stop your favourite dancing music.

Activity instructions:
This game is a lot like the game ‘musical chairs’ we all played as children.

2. Dance to your favourite music.
3. Stop the music intermittently and call out a shape’s name (eg. CIRCLE!).
4. Quickly rush to find the shape you have called out and stand on it.
5. Continue to repeat until you have called all the shape names.

Younger children may go on a bit of a shape hunt when the music stops. Follow your child’s lead and comment on the shapes as they collect them. For example, “Wow, you found the round circle… and now you have the triangle which has points and lines!”.

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Perfect Square - By: Michael Hall
Tangled - By: Anne Miranda
Shape by Shape - Suse MacDonald

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We hope you have enjoyed these activities!
Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions and feel free to share and tag us in your photos and stories about these activities!

Activity Pack created and produced by Mary Wolff

Sensory

Movement

SAMPLE ACTIVITY PACK

Building

By exposing children to opportunities that help nurture their developing skills, we can enhance their self-esteem, sense of independence and instill a lifelong love for learning.

Science

# teach your child at home through play using simple household and natural materials!​

Fine Motor

Math

Building

Coopertive

Play

Shapes Activity Pack Sampler

Teaching your child about shapes will involve more than just showing them a triangle. Your child will learn more about triangles if they pick one up and explore and play with it or create a triangle with their hands or body movements.

It is also important to keep in mind the language you are using throughout the activities this week. Make sure you are using the language of geometry:

• Describe objects by their shape when you speak with your child. “You found a square piece of fabric.” “Kaya, you used two cylinder blocks in your tower.”
• Use words such as side, solid, surface, point, straight, curve, inside, flat, top, angle.
• Look at artwork together and talk about how artists use lines and shapes. Help children recognize lines and shapes in their own drawings.
• Help your child ask and answer thought-provoking questions. “If Mario places these three rods next to each other, what shape will he have?” “How can you tell this is a circle and not a square?” “What could you do if you wanted to turn the square into a triangle?”

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