Mystery Shapes adds excitement to your morning!
Making math fun helps preschoolers take more risks in their learning. This is so important for early learners! Mystery Shapes is a great fine motor activity that toddlers and preschoolers practice pencil grip through play.
RELATED: Mystery Shapes is just one of the 40+ activities for kids at home that we love to share with you!
Math activities need to involve prediction and problem-solving.
There is something about a sense of prediction and surprise that makes learning shapes a lot more fun than what may be drawn on a worksheet.
In fact, a lot of activities are better off not on a worksheet, and it is my mission to help you create more hands-on learning opportunities in your home.
The truth is, setting activities like this one is even faster than pressing print and waiting for it to come out of the printer!
RELATED: Stop the Pinterest search! Keep hands-on learning ideas stored in your home with our activity cards.
What shapes should your preschooler know?
The following shapes are essential for your preschoolers to recognize in fun activities and identify in their environment.
- Rhombus (diamond)
But here’s the catch. Learning the names of shapes is necessary, but what is even more important is paying attention to the number of sides and corners a form may have.
According to the Common Core, children in Kindergarten analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes in different sizes and orientations.
We can begin the shape attributes now with our preschoolers.
Children love to take a more in-depth look and count the number of lines a shape may have.
The trick is that we have to ask.
I use broken crayons with my toddler to help improve his pencil grip!
RELATED: This hands-on shape matching game will get your preschooler moving!
How long does this take to set up Mystery Shapes?
Faster than you can say shapes.
Okay, not that fast, but you get what I am alluding to. It is quick and easy — just the way we like to keep kid activities here.
Let’s set up mystery shapes!
Tape down your white paper roll and add your dot stickers to create the corners of each shape.
Place the matching markers to the left of the paper. Why the left? This intentional placement will help begin tracking their left to right. Invite your preschooler to draw lines to connect the dots to discover the mystery shape.
I played with my three-year-old and five-year-old a little differently.
As my five-year-old connected, I also asked him to count and write the number of sides for each shape. I also made his shapes more difficult by adding a hexagon. Notice I add a number line out of painter’s tape when I saw he was becoming confused with number formations. These resources help him still feel confident and take chances rather than giving up.
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How about a shape pro tip?
Using the term rhombus rather than diamond will be a valuable way to set your child up for success down the road!
Think about this: A diamond is a gem or stone. A rhombus is a geometric shape. Begin to use the term rhombus early on.
RELATED: Use shapes to make fun figures such as snowmen.
Which math questions can I ask my child as we play?
I encourage you to allow your child to take the lead. With that said, you can prompt different thinking that will help extend ideas along the way.
Notice in the photo above and how I helped tighten up his rectangle.
Here is how this redirecting looked:
Good work! Which shape did you make?
A rectangle, you’re right! Let’s count the number of sides together. (Now I am dragging my marker from dot to dot as we count together.)
One, two, three, four! You’re right! A rectangle has four sides.
Notice how this shows by example. I didn’t tell my three-year-old that he did something wrong because he didn’t! He is creative and can sometimes fall into imaginary play. I encourage that.
I swooped in to reinforce the objective, and then we swiftly carried on to the next shape.
You can do this at home! Encourage your child to take the lead and passively help along the way when needed.
RELATED: Explore fine motor skills here.