Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pre-Toddler Activity #9: Shape Sorting ... with a twist!

My son is officially 18 months old, so he doesn't fall in the Pre-Toddler category anymore, but I still have a few activities to share that we have done in previous months.  Plus, today's activity is one we will continue to work on, tweak, and advance in the months to come.

They say sometime between the age of 12 and 18 months your child will learn how to put simple shapes in a shape sorter or simple puzzle.  If you are like me, you have learned 12 to 18 months is a HUGE range, but somehow it is hard to avoid thinking your child should complete a task at an earlier  versus later age.  Hmmmmmmmm.........there is a reason there is a range.  KIDS ARE DIFFERENT!

So on to the activity.  B has struggled with shape sorting.  I don't know if he has really struggled or he just isn't interested.  So I decided to break it down into a simpler task for him.

First, I gave him various shaped objects that would fit through the handle on the side of a cardboard box.

I demonstrated how to place each object through the hole and encouraged him to watch it drop inside the box.  This helped him to understand the concept of pushing objects through a smaller opening without the restraints of specific shapes.

After several days of playing this way and after the prompting of my mother-in-law I cut additional holes in the box to encourage more specific shape sorting.

Find multiple objects that are identical in shape.  Repetition will help re-enforce the idea of shape sorting.  Most of us have a set of square blocks or multiple new rolls of tape or a set of tennis balls or.....

Trace each shape, then cut accordingly...

Initially show your child which shapes fit in which holes.  Then, encourage them to complete several of the same shape before moving onto the other shapes.

If you are asking, "Why would I do this since I have a plastic and/or wooden shape sorter?"  I would first reply, "Do you remember your fascination with cardboard boxes when you were a kid?"  If the answer is yes, then you know that your child will be drawn to this activity over their plastic shape sorter.

Then I would say, many plastic/wooden shape sorters only have one object that will fit through each hole.  There may only be one circle, one square, one triangle, etc.  If you make your own, you get to decide which shapes you focus on and how many of each shape your child will be able to use.

Another reason, you can help your child understand the more simplistic concept that small objects will fit through small openings, but large objects will not prior to the more difficult concept of only one specific shape will fit through a hole.  

Once, your child fully understands the concept, move on to a plastic/wooden shape sorter where only one shape will fit through each hole.

NOTE:  This activity should never be performed with objects small enough to be a choking hazard or without supervision of an adult.

Tip #6: Look at what you throw away today and ask yourself if there is some way you could use it to create play with your child.

View other 12-18 Month Activities:
Linking up with I Can Teach My Child


Misty said...

Love your creative ideas! My little girl LOVES her shape sorter.

Carolina said...

What a great idea! Where do you learn all this stuff from? I need to try this at home with Jack.

Anonymous said...

Such a great idea! I may need to try this with my nephew :)

Sandy said...

I love B's concentration and focus which you captured so well in these shots. I think another reason he likes the cut-out box so much (compared to the toy shape sorters) is the box is BIG and it is really fun to hear the items drop down and then open the flaps and FIND & retrieve them.

Great thinking about breaking the more difficult task into smaller, sequential steps...similar to the puzzle sort you shared. I think I should consult you for incremental steps the next time I have a task that is overwhelming to me :-)

Unknown said...

He is so, so cute!! I think I spend as much time appreciating his cuteness as I do the activitied in these posts, hehe. Aiden loves his shape sorter, BUT he adores found objects, so I am sure he would be thrilled with this variation! Will try this one for sure :)

Unknown said...

I absolutely love your ideas!! I was struggling to find things for my daughter and I to do that didn't cost a fortune and use things laying around the house. Thank you sooo very much for sharing these great ideas.

Unknown said...

I love your site!! There are so many great ideas and it doesn't cos ta fortune. Thank you for sharing!