One of my favorite ways to teach kids about shapes is to create familiar things with them. As my daughter and I were unpacking our Halloween decorations last week we pulled out a bat craft her older brother made years ago and she asked me why she’d never made a bat. We went upstairs and made this shape bat craft so she could have a bat too. Crafts like this are great learning tools but don’t confuse them with art. They are artistic ways to learn but kids still need ample time to create freely.
Start by talking about bats. We read Stellaluna the night before so all the basics like that they sleep during the day and what they look like were fresh in her memory. Give your child a sheet of paper and crayons of their choice to draw the bats home. She drew a moon and tree.
Next talk about bat body parts and what shapes could make them. While we were talking about bat wings she pretended to fly! We went over what each shape was called and looked at how they were similar and how they were different. I did not tell her what the shapes were for I let her decide which would make the body parts.We may want our kids to get it” right” but the importance of this activity isn’t to make the bat that looks the most like a bat it’s to explore how shapes together can create another.
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Stellaluna by Janell Canon has long been a favorite when teaching about bats. I will warn you it’s a little long for fidgety toddlers but they will still enjoy it even if you skip a few pages. The story follows a little bat who loses her mother and is adopted into a family of birds. She never really feels like she belongs even though she likes her bird family. That’s not the end though, there is a surprise reunion and Stellaluna saves the day before the end of this book.