Last week I posted about how children learn shapes best by using their hands to manipulate the shapes. I wrote about using shape puzzles/sorters and also about incorporating shapes into bath or water play time. Another fun way to get your child to start recognizing shapes is by
playing with their food.
Yes. I just said "playing with their food".
Most children enjoy playing quick games with their food before eating so why not take advantage of snack time. You can easily lay out snack foods of different shapes and ask them to find the "circle". Or point to a shape and ask them to name it. As soon as they get one right let them choose if they want to eat it or set it aside until they have collected all of the shapes.
You can probably go through your pantry right now and find an array of different shaped foods. I just opened one cabinet today and pulled out four boxes of crackers. Two kinds were shaped like squares, one like circles, and the last like rectangles. Those three shapes alone would be a great starting point for most young children.
The best way to teach more complicated shapes, without having to search the stores for food the right shape, is by using mini shape cookie cutters (I think I got my from the Dollar Store).
Grab some snack food that can easily be cut into shapes, such as; cheese, fruit leather, melon, etc.
One of my daughter's favorite snacks is crackers and cheese so I can easily double up the shapes. I pick out one I want her to find and then describe it to her. "An octagon under a square." "A circle beneath a triangle." Not only is she still getting shape practice but she is also practicing position words, such as; over, under, on, and beneath. After she finds the right one she sets it aside because she usually wants to mix up the shapes and play again at least once more before actually eating.