Teaching Your Preschooler The Concept of Size and Shapes
Little ones are quick to catch what you teach them. Before your child takes his first step into preschool, make sure that he’s aware about the concept of sizes through tall and short activities for preschool. He can do them right at home.
Tall and short, big and small – these are a few concepts of sizes that your little one notices in everyday life but is unable to pinpoint. Another concept your preschooler is already learning on his own before you teach him about it is the concept of shapes. Your preschooler already knows about sizes and shapes, but it takes the right activities and games to help him define them correctly. For example, when your child tries to raise his feet when he’s standing next to a taller buddy, he’s actually mentally aware that he’s shorter. When he solves the shapes puzzle, he knows a square peg cannot fit in a round hole. You can help him differentiate between sizes and shapes by putting appropriate names of them.
Why Should We Teach Preschoolers Shapes and Sizes
As an adult, it might seem too simple a thing to do – why do you need to invest so much time and energy teaching children about sizes and shapes? Is it going to help them succeed in life?
Well, yes. It will.
Some of the most basic activities we do require a thorough understanding of shapes, sizes, and quantities.
- Understanding of size helps us pour the right amount of water into a glass without letting it overflow. Imaghine always running out of water because you have no understanding of how big your glass is and keep wasting water from the bottle!
- All professions require the use of shapes and sizes – architects need to build houses that come in the right sizes and shapes, doctors need to find the correct-sized instruments to use while performing surgeries, and a chef needs to make food that can be served on a plate and held properly in our hands!
- A proper understanding of shapes and sizes helps us pick the right size of clothes for ourselves, play basketball well, distinguish your car keys from the house keys, and basically live life without becoming a walking-talking blunder ball!
So yes, shapes and sizes are pretty important! This is why learning about them is considered to be a developmental milestone.
Teaching Big and Small Things to Kids
Introducing kids to the concept of size can be done in the most fun way, provided you know how.
- Everyday objects such as shoes, toys and even utensils can help your toddler differentiate between big and small. For instance, place daddy’s and your preschooler’s shoes next to each other and ask him which one is bigger.
- You can also help your child understand the concept of big and small for preschoolers with routine activities. When he’s with you in the kitchen, help him understand size by taking big and small spoons and pointing out the difference. When giving her juice, pour it out for her in a small glass and do the same for you in a big glass. Show her the size difference and continue to point out other objects of different sizes in the room.
- Another way to teach your child about sizes is by taking him outdoors and comparing different things he sees: big versus small cars, grown-ups versus young children, small cats versus big dogs, small houses versus tall buildings, etc. Pretty soon you will see your child has learnt what ‘big’ and ‘small’ means, so don’t be surprised if he asks you for the bigger ice-cream bowl after dinner!
How to Teach Big and Small to Children through Games
Some kids learn better when they are taught through games and activities rather than in a traditional way. For such kids, here are some games that will make learning ‘sizes’ fun.
- Take two bowls and a few beads of two different sizes. Place the bowls in front of your child and tell him to put the large beads in the large bowl and the small ones in the small bowl. You may need to show him how to do it a couple of times. Once he gets the hang of it, increase the number of bowls and beads to up the challenge. Teaching size concepts to preschoolers with this simple and engaging activity can drive home the lesson more effectively.
- Help your child understand the difference between size through tall and short activities. Take him on an outing to an animal sanctuary and show him the difference in size between a giraffe and a deer, or a monkey and a bear. As you see more animals, ask him which is taller and which is shorter. You can also play a similar game at home – stand in front of the mirror with your child beside you. Do this with his siblings/peers and with your husband too.
Introducing Shapes to Preschoolers
Much like size, shape is another property that children learn about through observation.
- The toys we bring for our children come in various shapes and are a good place to start teaching shapes to preschoolers. Pick up a ball and building blocks and show your child the difference between the two shapes. Round or circle and square are two of the most basic and easiest shapes to teach a preschooler.
- Next, you can try and show your child what a triangle is. For this, you can use a handkerchief. Join two opposite corners of the handkerchief and show your child the triangle you made. Food like samosa and parathas can also become real-life examples of ‘triangle’, while eggs can be an example of the shape ‘oval’.
- Finally, when you think your child is ready to take a small quiz, you can get a pencil and paper for your child and ask him to draw the shapes he has learnt. To make the game more fun and interactive, you can use a stick and ask your child to draw the shapes in the mud or sand!
10 Activities to Teach Shapes and Sizes to Preschoolers
Once you have introduced your child to different sizes and shapes, it is time to play games and improve their learning!
- Use felt paper to cut out different shapes (circle, square, triangle, star, diamond, etc.). Draw the shapes on sandpaper. Ask your child to ‘stick’ the correct shape on the sandpaper.
- Play fetch using a shape theme. For example, give your child 1 minute to fetch 5 round things in the house.
- A similar time-bound game can be played using a size theme too. Give your child spoons of different sizes, and ask him to arrange them in growing or diminishing sizes.
- Draw a simple picture on a piece of blank paper (a house, a flower, etc.) and ask your child to identify all different shapes he can see in the picture.
- When you have your preschooler’s friends over for a play-date, you can get the children to play ‘size’-games together. Ask to compare the lengths of hair that they all have, and form 3 groups – those with long hair, those with medium length hair, and those with short hair.
- With a group of children, you can also play ‘match the pair’ kind of games using shapes. Take a marker and draw shapes on the children’s hands. Ask them to find their partner – someone who has a matching shape on their hand!
- Ask children to form different shapes holding each other’s hands. When you say ‘circle’, they have to hold hands and stand in a circle, when you say ‘square’, they have to form a square. To make the game more fun and challenging, you can put a condition: they have to form the different shapes without breaking the human chain!
- Give your child modelling clay and ask him to make different shapes or different sizes using it: one big and one small circle, two big triangles, etc. This can also be good counting practice.
- For slightly older children, you can make the game more challenging by using a blindfold. Cover your child’s eyes, and then ask him to draw shapes on a paper!
- Bake cookies of different shapes and sizes!
Stores, home, playgrounds, parks– they all can serve as ideal locales for teaching size and shape concepts to preschoolers. Responsible teaching can help your child prepare for learning more complex concepts when he enters school. You want to make sure that he’s well acquainted with the basics first.
Do you know of any large and small games for kids? What do you teach your child? Let us know!