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.....
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:
- Pre-Toddler Activity #1: Activity Box
- Pre-Toddler Activity #2: Alphabet Box
- Pre-Toddler Activity #3: Puzzle Search
- Pre-Toddler Activity #4: Texture Soup
- Pre-Toddler Activity #5: What to do with Play-Doh?
- Pre-Toddler Activity #6: Pull Out Your Boxes
- Pre-Toddler Activity #7: Muffin Pan Suprise
- Pre-Toddler Activity #8: Make Your Own Personalized Board Book