Teach Your Child Shapes with Everyday Objects
Mom365â€™s series about teaching babies and toddlers shapes is brought to you by our partner Tiggly, creator of award-winning interactive toys. Get 25% off Tiggly Shapes now!
If you’re in search of a fun way to teach your toddler about shapes, look no further than your home and neighborhood. Simple shapes are everywhere–from the foods your child eats to the gear she rides around in–and each shape sighting presents an exciting learning opportunity.
Kitchen Tools and Cookware
Make drying the dishes or unloading the dishwasher a little more fun by involving your little one from the comfort and safety of his high chair. Plates, pot lids, casserole dishes, bowls, spatulas, and muffin tins are all fair game. Say the name of the object first, then run your finger along its edge and name its shape. Pretty soon a pattern will emerge and your toddler will start to understand shape categories. A pot lid is a circle! A plate is also a circle! A muffin tin is a rectangleâ€¦with lots of circles in it! Bonus points if you hand your child a wooden spoon and hold a pot lid in front of him so he can set the rhythm for your improvised song about shapes.
Bath Time Objects
There’s something so gratifying about pouring water back and forth from one container into another, and it’s sure to keep your baby or toddler entertained and even tickle her funny bone during bath time. Up the ante by using different shaped receptacles–any nesting cups and clean plastic food storage containers will do. One of the most interesting properties of liquids is their ability to take on the shape of their container, transforming your kidâ€™s bathwater from triangular to circular to rectangular in a matter of seconds. Your child will be mesmerized!
That juicy, brightly colored sphere known as an orange can take on endless shapes with some strategic cutting. Take a slice out of the middle and you’ve got a perfect circle. Chop that in half and you have a semicircle. Two more slices will turn it into a triangle. The same can be done with dozens of other fruits and vegetables, not to mention hardboiled eggs. And don’t overlook the endless shape-shifting potential of polenta set in a mold or a slice of whole-wheat toast paired with a set of cookie cutters. Diamonds, crescents, stars–the sky’s the limit!
If you’re at all musically inclined, chances are you have a few instruments in your home. Drums, keyboards, xylophones, flutes, and guitars all have distinct shapes that are made up of smaller shapes. Make a game of pointing out all the shapes contained in your favorite musical instrument, from rectangular keys to circular sound holes. Your child is guaranteed to have a blast once you let her bang out an impromptu tune.
For a more structured presentation, grab some rubber bands and a few pushpins from your desk drawer and turn them into shapes on a cork-board. The fun thing about this approach is that it’s also handy for learning more advanced concepts like counting and addition–all it takes to turn a rubber band triangle into a square is one more pushpin.
If you’re ready to take your shape-spotting show on the road, put your toddler in his stroller and let the game begin. From window frames to street signs, bus wheels to murals, nothing is too big or too small to point out, name, and classify as a shape. See how many different shapes you can help your baby recognize on the way from your doorstep to your favorite coffee shop. You’ll both be ready for a nap by the time you get back home.
And for those times when you’d like your child to learn about shapes with some outside help, you can turn to your tablet and Tiggly Shapes.
Tiggly Shapes is a learning system composed of four interactive shape toys (circle, square, triangle, and star) designed for use with a set of three free educational apps for tablets. Tiggly Shapes helps children ages 2-5 develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and creativity while learning shape recognition and early reading skills. Because Tiggly Toys have soft silicon touch points, your iPad screen will react to them without any risk of damage, but they’re still strong enough to withstand toddler play and exploration.