In this lesson, children will outline pre-existing shapes to identify circles, triangles, squares, stars, moons and rectangles and create their own shape books using small stickers.
(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)
This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers meet the following educational standards:
- Analyze characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and develop mathematical arguments about geometric relationships
- Use visualization, spatial reasoning and geometric modeling to solve problems
After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be more proficient at:
- Recognizing, naming, building, drawing, comparing and sorting two- and three-dimensional shapes
- Creating mental images of geometric shapes using spatial memory and spatial visualization
- Recognizing geometric shapes and structures in the environment and specifying their locations
Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers
Step 1: Gather materials.
- Little stickers (little dots or circle stickers, rather than big stickers of different shapes)
- Large pre-drawn shapes (circles, stars, triangles, squares, rectangles and moons) for a book with one shape per page, titled: “My Book of Shapes”
Note: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.
Step 2: Introduce activity.
- Review the shapes with the children. Ask them to describe the attributes of the various shapes.
- Ask the children to point out places around the room where they see the various shapes. (“Yes, the door is the shape of a rectangle.”)
- Explain that today they are going to create sticker shapes. They will use stickers to create the various circle, star, triangle, square, rectangle and moon shapes.
Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.
- Introduce “My Book of Shapes” and the stickers.
- Explain that the children will be using the stickers to create the shapes on the pages. Demonstrate how to peel off the stickers and place them on the lines of the shapes. It is important to emphasize that the stickers are only to be used to create shapes, not anything else. Children love stickers and the temptation to put stickers in other places than in their books will be very strong.
- The children can create their own shapes without following the outlines of the pre-drawn shapes in the book. The book can simply have the names of the shapes at the top of the page and the children can create their own shapes using the stickers.
- The children can count how many stickers they used to create each shape.
Step 4: Vocabulary.
- Circle: A round shape that has no straight edges or corners (e.g.,”A wheel is a circle.)
- Rectangle: A shape with four sides and four right angles (e.g.,”A door is a rectangle.”)
- Square: A shape with four straight sides that are the same length or size and four corners (e.g.,”The window is a square.”)
- Triangle: A pointy shape with three sides and three corners (e.g.,”A slice of pizza is a triangle.”)
- Count: To identify the amount of something by number (e.g.,”How many stickers did you use to make a circle? Let’s count them: 1-2-3!”)
Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.
Adapt Lesson for Toddlers
- Be having difficulty with the fine-motor skills required to peel off and place the small stickers
Child care providers may:
- Have the children trace the shapes onto their pages and then attempt to draw the shapes on their own
Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers
- Be familiar with the shapes
Child care providers may:
- Encourage the children to create their own shapes without following the outlines of the pre-drawn shapes in the book (the book can simply have the names of the shapes at the top of the page and the children can create their own shapes using the stickers)
- Have the children count how many stickers they used to create each shape
- Shape by Shape by Suse Macdonald (New York: Little Simon, 2009)
- Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh (New York: HMH Books for Young Readers; 2007)
- Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1996)
Music and Movement
Working together, have the children create various shapes. “How many children does it take to make a triangle?” They can either lie down on the ground or attempt to make the shape by standing up and using various props. It’s a fun idea to take pictures of the children making the various shapes and then create a bulletin board with the photos.
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