Thursday, July 12, 2018

Preschool Shapes Activities...Making the First Weeks a Little Easier

The beginning of a new school year is getting closer and closer.  It is time to begin getting your room ready and planning for those first weeks. This will be my 9th year of teaching and I know how unpredictable those first few weeks can be.

I always introduce the concept of center time slowly with tried and true centers that I KNOW the kids will enjoy and keep them fully engaged.  I introduce of fine motor work within both of my literacy and math centers to get a general assessment of where the kids are and how we need to proceed.

For Math Centers I always begin with shapes.

We sort shapes with our "Shape Monsters" sorting activity, we match shapes with "Shadow Shapes" matching mats, and we practice using our 'pinchy' fingers with a "Match and Clip" activity.  We Look for shapes on our playground and around the school and we even eat a different shape each day at snack time! (Ritz cracker circles, tortilla chip triangles, Town House cracker ovals, graham cracker rectangles and many options!)

Feed the Shape Monster shape sorting is one of the best activities that I add to my plan for the first week of school.  I made my own cute shape monsters with powerpoint shapes and some fun google eye clip art.  A trip to the Dollar Store for plain brown gift bags (3 for $1) provide the base.  I cut a mouth in the shape monster-the same shape as the monster, ie; circle-circle shaped mouth, triangle-triangle shaped mouth etc.  I made a hole in each bag and stapled the shape monster to the front and matched the holes so we could 'feed' the monsters!  I gather up as many of each shape I have in my classroom-I use buttons, foam shapes, wood shapes, etc.  I set the monsters out on the rug and explain to the kids how we feed the circle monster circles, the triangle monster triangles...etc.  The kids then pull shapes out of a large tub and feed them to the correct monster!  We name the shapes as we play, and more often than not the kids stayed to play the  Shape Monster game over and over again!

Shadow Shape Matching Mats are another fun and engaging shapes center for those first weeks when we are getting to know each other and we haven't built up our stamina for sitting at our tables.  With this center students are given mats with black 'shadows' of shapes printed on them.  There is a group of colorful cut shapes for each mat placed in easy reach of the kids.  They find the shape that matches the shadow and match them up!  I made 4 mats in all, so the kids can do one or all three!  Most end up doing all three of the mats because it is a fun activity, and one they can feel a sense of pride in completing!

We all know how important it is to work on those fine motor skills.  I use a Shape Match and Clip activity that is fantastic for learning shapes, and when you throw in a bunch of've got a center that does double duty! Shapes and fine motor skill development! The kids love learning how to use the clothespins...such a novelty at the beginning of the year.  We use them throughout the is  great to watch the kiddos gain confidence and strength in their little hands! 

You will find these great centers plus 7 more in this great product in my TPT store!  It will make those first few days a little easier and a LOT more fun!
Shapes! 10 Shape Centers for Preschool, PreK, K, & Homeschool

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