Shape Castle

Kids Castle Craft

My mom is in Ireland right now on business and staying in castles, nice eh? Well since telling my son that he has been pretending to be in a castle in Ireland too. So today we made one out of all different shapes. We couldn’t pass up the glitter either , although looking at my floor sorta wish I did. Getting down on all fours with a dust buster and a 34 week belly is well, not fun! Decide for yourself!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 3 different colors of construction paper, scissors, glue, markers and glitter .Kids Castle Craft
  2. Start by cutting out large rectangles and triangles , as well as some small squares for the castle.  You can use any shapes you want but these were simple for me to cut out and simple for my son to use to build. Kids Castle Craft
  3. Cut out some shapes to use as windows, doors and flags in a contrasting color.Shape Castle
  4. Invite your little castle builder to come and decorate the background.  Clouds, flowers, whatever they choose. My son made rain, because I had shown him pictures of me in Ireland and it was raining, and he was making his castle in Ireland as well.Shape Castle
  5. Next add glueShape Castle
  6. Add your main castle pieces. Remember to ask and talk about the shapes. Today my question was if he turned the shape around would it still be the same shape. He had to think about that for a second.Shape Castle
  7. Add your triangles.Shape Castle
  8. Add the small squares.Shape Castle
  9. Add more glue for the windows and doors. Shape Castle
  10. Add the contrasting shapes. My son didn’t want the flags, or all the shapes I cut so they went into my scrap bin.
  11. Next up glitter, add the glue first ( we took turns adding glue). Shape Castle
  12. Add the glitter.Shape Castle Immediately regret it when you watch your child rub the super fine glitter into their PJs, and hair. Send them onto the back porch to shake off.Shape Castle
  13. Let dry. I always let the glue dry before shaking the excess glitter off.

Princess Books

Princess and The Pizza

The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane and Herb Auch is really a cute re telling of the classic Princess and the Pea. They have modernized it and made it a little more feminist in the process, exactly my kind of book. The text is a little long for toddlers but my son sat through about half before wanting to go back and look at the illustration of the horse on the first page. The message is sweet, saying that a woman doesn’t need a man or marriage to attain her goals! Beware though it will make you crave pizza!

Princess Smarty Pants

Princess Smartypants by Brenda Cole is the antithesis of the classic beautiful frail princess stories, but it still ends with happily ever after.  Princess Smartypants does her own thing and doesn’t understand why her family is so obsessed with finding her a husband. She bends to their wishes but still does things her way. I think this is a great message about happiness and confidence for girls and balances out some of the other princess stories. She was happy just the way she is and didn’t  need a spouse to feel complete.

Paper_Bag_Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is one of my very favorite books. Some parents have shared their dislike of Elizabeth’s outburst at the end calling Ronald a bum but I think not only is it justified, he treated her horribly, but people say things when they are angry and you can easily use it to teach your child about anger. I think it’s a wonderful story about a princess taking things into her own hands and saving herself and the prince! My kind of fairytale.

You May Also Like :

Shape Dinosaur
Shape Pizza
Princess Wand

Gross Motor Math Game

This game was supposed to be done with beanbags, we were going to toss them into the shapes… but a classic 3 year old breakdown about not being able to do it perfectly lead to me adapting it. I didn’t give up right away, but when he calmed down tried again, did a fine job and STILL broke down into sobs I couldn’t decipher, I decided to change it. So instead I threw on some music , and went for it. If you have a child who likes to throw and isn’t in the perfectionist stage mine is very painfully in at the moment grab some beanbags and take turns tossing them in for a fun varriation.

    1. Gather your materials. You will need some blue painters tape, a marker and paper. If you want add in some bean bags and music .
    2. Start by making shapes on the floor with the tape.  We did square, diamond, pentagon, rectangle and triangle. Involve your child in this step by asking them to predict what the shape will be , asking them to count how many pieces or sides each shape has and to trace it with their feet by walking on it and pressing down the tape. Preschool Shape Game
    3. Here is where you can start tossing bean bags in – simply call out the shape and have your little pitcher throw it in.
    4. Or you can do what we did and turn on the music , and have them find different ways to move while the music is on, and when it stops call out a shape for them to jump into.

  1. To make a more challenging variation write out some numbers . My son is big into speed limits right now so we went for big numbers, I suggested smaller numbers ( 10-20) but he insisted so I took him up on the challenge. You could also use letters or sight words too, for beginners try colors! As you will see in the video he needed help for these big numbers, which isn’t a bad thing at all but if you are playing this with many kids you will want the game to keep moving to keep them all interested and the inertia going so use numbers they are more familiar with. preschool shape game
  2. Pop the numbers into the shapes and play again. My intention was to have one number in each but my son wanted to put a whole bunch in the pentagon. Today was not the day to put my foot down . I wanted to play more than I wanted to force my specific rules on him. Preschool shape game

Have fun remember that our best laid plans are often thwarted by our best loved little ones. I am glad i didn’t give into my growing frustration at his inexplicable meltdown and instead adapted the game. We had fun playing before and after nap .

Shape  Books !

So Many Circles, So Many Squares by Tana Hoban is a picture book that is all about shapes in our environment. There is page after page of pictures of daily life, food, signs etc… with the simple question of finding the shapes in the photos. It’s a great book to use as a launch pad into a shape hunt in your own home or around town and worth a few looks because you will be surprised at the shapes you missed the first time.

There is a square

There’s a Square: A Book About Shapes by Mary Serfozo is a good shape book for preschoolers. Almost every illustration is made up of recognizable shapes and the text is made up of entertaining rhymes about the shapes on each page. My son thinks it’s funny that the shapes “Are sorta like people.” referring to the fact that the shapes are made into characters .

Dinosaur Shapes

Dinosaur Shapesby Paul Stickland will delight you and your dinosaur fan. The book is geared towards toddlers and young preschoolers who are still mastering finding basic shapes.  A shape is displayed on one side of the page and then those silly dinosaurs are playing with it on the other. My son loves dinosaurs so even though he’s known these shapes for ages it’s an enjoyable book with fun text and adorable illustrations by Henrietta Stickland.

Fire Truck Craft

fire truck craft

It is no secret my son loves fire trucks. We often have to drive by the local station on the way home to see if the trucks are in or busy rescuing people. This fire truck craft does take some prep work but is a great lesson in shapes and as your child gets older you can simply give them the pieces and let them put them together like a puzzle. I was very hands off today and glad I was, he needed very little help. All I did was ask him where he thought each piece should go and what shape each was.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some red, yellow, orange, white and black paper, scissors , a black marker and glue. fire truck craft
  2. Start by pre cutting the shapes. I started with a building with rectangle windows – this is not necessary I did this per my son’s request for something on fire. The picture of this is lost – I made it by cutting a black rectangle then folding it and making rectangle window cut outs.
  3. Next I cut out a ladder, a main rectangle for the truck, a square for the ab, a tiny square for the siren, 3 circles for the wheels and yellow and orange triangles for the flames coming out of the burning building.  If your child is able simply draw the shapes and have them cut them out!fire truck craft
  4. Time for your little learner to join you.  Add glue for the shapes. fire truck craft
  5. Start piecing them together- we started with the main part of the truck then the ladder.fire truck craft
  6. The cab and wheels.fire truck craft
  7. Don’t forget to ask your child what all these shapes are! Next we added the small square for a siren.
  8. fire truck craftHe added the building fire truck craft
  9. Next he channeled his toddler self and pretended to eat the glue ” No I am not eating it mama, I am playing with the air puffs.” That didn’t make me feel better ! fire truck craft
  10. And the triangle flames. fire truck craft
  11. Let dry.

Books

Flashing Fire Engines

Flashing Fire Engines by Tony Mitton is a favorite at our house. Normally even after my son and I read the books we review I grab them to do the write up , this is on my son’s shelf where it always is I know the whole thing off by heart as does my son , so no need to grab it for reference. The book is a rhyming masterpiece, somehow keeping up the rhyming pace as it explains how firefighters fight fires and rescue people! Details like what gear they wear, and how hoses and hydrants work are included as well as ladders and sirens. My son loves this book and as an adult who has  read it hundreds of times it’s fun to read,  even over and over again.

All Aboard Fire Trucks

All Aboard Fire Trucks by Teddy Slater is never where i expect it to be in my house, because my son carries it around to read all by himself. No at 3 he isn’t reading yet instead he’s memorized much of this text and likes to sit and go over the many types of fire vehicles that are discussed in this very detailed book.  I have learned a lot from this book. It covers the basics but also goes into the more specialized fire vehicles like airport firetrucks, foam units for chemical fires and bulldozers used in forest fires.  If your child gasps every time they see a firetruck, can tell a pumper from a ladder and dreams of fighting fires, they will love this informative book!

tonka fire trucks

Tonka: Fire Trucks by Melissa A Torres is another favorite of my son. This is a Tonka book and has wheels that really roll which has served us well while traveling. It serves a double duty as a book and toy. The book itself isn’t bad either- which surprised me because usually novelty books like this usually underwhelm me. This book covers all the major types of vehicles used to fight fires, a pumper, an aerial ladder truck, fire chief’s truck, rescue truck and fire boat. Just the right amount of info is given for each and the illustrations support the text well. If your child isn’t into fire trucks I wouldn’t go searching out this book but if they are it’s a a worthy  addition to your library of firetruck books.

Christmas Tree Craft

easy christmas tree craft

This is a fun way to make a shape lesson festive. This Christmas tree craft is perfect for toddlers and young preschoolers but older kids will enjoy it too, just make sure to provide fun papers and have older children cut out their own shapes!  Also I have always found it tricky to work trapezoids into shape activities for young kids, this is a perfect time!

  1. Gather your materials.  You will need a red piece of construction paper, a green piece , some fun contrasting scrap pieces ( I used old card stock) , scissors, glue, some plain white paper , yellow marker and a paper punch if you have it.Christmas Kids Craft
  2. Start by drawing the tree with 1 triangle and 2 trapezoids on the green paper. Cut out.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  3. Next draw a star on the plain white paper – set aside.Christmas Craft 003
  4. Invite your child to the table and have them color the star- lately my son has been playing ” Am I done yet?” after making one dot of color my reply is always ” I don’t know are you?” to which is keeps coloring and the game continues.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  5. While they color cut out the circles and squares for the ornaments.Christmas Kids Craft
  6. Hand your child the red paper and glue. I showed my son how the shapes fit together to make a tree before handing him the glue. The sneak peak was all he needed to understand what we were making.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  7. Pop the largest trapezoid on ,  don’t forget to label the shape or ask your child what it is.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  8. Add glue for the middle.
  9. Add the shape.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  10. Add glue for the triangle on top and add it.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  11. Time to add the shape ornaments. My son was not happy that I pre-cut the shapes, so he had to make some too.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  12. Add as many or as few as your little Picasso decides. What’s nice about this craft is that kids are able to manipulate the shapes themselves, instead of simply identifying them on a page.Christmas Tree Kids Craft
  13. While they do that cut out the star.
  14. Add glue for the starChristmas Tree Kids Craft
  15. Pop it on top. Let dry. Christmas Tree Kids Craft

Because this is a flat craft this is a great one to send to far away grandparents or other loved ones in the mail !

Books

christmas_in_the_barn

Christmas in the Barn by Margaret Wise Brown will sound very familiar to you if you are a fan of her book The Big Red Barn, which both my son and I am. I like this book but my son kept saying ” That’s not right” thinking that this was the other book. They are that similar. In this book though there is something that the other doesn’t have, most notably Baby Jesus. It’s a calm and gentle book about the birth of Jesus in a way only Margaret Wise Brown could accomplish.  I would like to read it next year to my son when he can appreciate that it’s not supposed to be exactly the same as  the Big Red Barn. Great book for toddlers and preschoolers alike!

the_year_of_the_perfect_christmas_tree

The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston made me cry. The story is about the hardships and love of one family torn apart by World War 1 as they prepare for Christmas with no resources. I love how strong the mother in this book is, she does the best he can with what she has, treks through snow to cut that big old Christmas tree down , and the part that made me cry uses her own wedding dress to make her daughter an angel costume for the Christmas pageant. Oh but that is not all she sacrificed, she  used the silk stockings her husband sent her from the war to make a doll for Santa to give to her daughter. The father coming home right as they were leaving the church service – once again starting my water works.  It’s an awesome story but probably too long for a group of kids , or toddlers , but perfect for a bedtime story for preschoolers on up. Also this book and the one previous were illustrated by Barbara Cooney , who captures such meaningful stories with her amazing work.

the star tree by Gisela Colle

The Star Treeby Gisela Colle  is a fable about the spirit of Christmas and how it gets lost in the hustle and bustle of modern life. An old man  decides to make gold stars just like he did as a child to decorate for Christmas, but when he looks out at the city and their gloom he decides he needs open space for his stars to shine. So he walks out to the country and soon he’s not alone, and before he knows it the stars have made their way back to the city and so has the spirit of Christmas.  Cute story with darker undertones for parents but my son really enjoyed the surface story about shiny stars and gloomy cities.

Shape Scarecrow Craft

Scarecrow Craft

I had a reader ask if we  had any scarecrow crafts, I didn’t but I came up with this. shape scarecrow!  There are a lot of steps but my almost 3 year old breezed through it, we talked about the shapes, and each body part as we added them . You will notice that my shapes are way less than perfect, but if they are clearly recognizable you are golden. Time is short for anyone caring for young kids, don’t fret over your shapes being perfect!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 5 different color pieces of construction paper ( you can use scrap if you want for all but one) we used orange, green, yellow, neutral and light blue , 2 large googly eyes, a marker, scissors and a glue stick.Scarecrow Craft
  2. Start by drawing a scarecrow head and mouth. Cut out. Scarecrow Craft
  3. Next cut out ( or have your child cut out) a triangle hat and rectangle shirt and arms from the green paper. Scarecrow Craft
  4. Cut out many smaller rectangles from the yellow paper for hair.Scarecrow Craft
  5. Cut out a orange triangle for the nose and 3 orange circles for the buttons. Scarecrow Craft
  6. Start gluing. Now you can just let them at it but to me this isn’t a creative project at all, it’s too structured for that, to me this is a shape lesson really.  Here is what I do.  Show your child the shapes and ask them what they look like. I help up the large rectangle and asked my son if he thought this was the scarecrow’s head, ” no it’s his belly!”  Glue it on. Don’t forget to ask what each shape is or label the shape for them.Scarecrow Craft
  7. Next add the head… I suggested this was an arm. My son set me straight! Don’t forget to have fun! frankenstien 019
  8. Keep labeling, and adding the shapes to build your scarecrow. Here he is adding the hair. Scarecrow Craft
  9. Add the arms.Scarecrow Craft
  10. If you are doing this with young toddlers don’t forget to label the colors as well!  Add your hat! Scarecrow Craft
  11. Add the eyes and nose. scarecrow craft
  12. Add your buttons. Scarecrow Craft
  13. Let dry!

Shape Books

Clay quest Mini Search for shapes

Clay Quest Minis: Search for Shapes!by Helen Bogosian is a big hit with my son and me! I was lucky enough to have this book sent to me by the publisher because it’s already come in handy on a ferry, and waiting to be seated at a restaurant keeping my son happy and busy searching for shapes.  This book is an activity book that has a simple rhyme and request for the reader to find 2 shapes on every page.  The shapes are hidden in the adorable clay “illustrations” , really they are photographs of clay sculptures that range in theme from a spider web to dinosaurs to princess crowns and more. My son loves playing ” Detective” and what I like is that the challenge is just right for his age group 2-3 year olds. Younger toddlers will still enjoy it and it’s vibrant colors but to do it independently this is the perfect age.  I try to find negatives with books that are sent to me from publishers for review,  but I am having a hard time this really is a good shape book!

So Many Circles, So Many Squares by Tana Hoban is a picture book that is all about shapes in our environment. There is page after page of pictures of daily life, food, signs etc… with the simple question of finding the shapes in the photos. It’s a great book to use as a launch pad into a shape hunt in your own home or around town and worth a few looks because you will be surprised at the shapes you missed the first time.

Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a cute book that not only helps teach shapes it is also entertaining! The three crafty mice use the shapes to protect themselves from one hungry cat finally using them to make scary mice to frighten the cat away! Kids love to help find which shapes are used in the illustrations and older ones can even anticipate what the mice will make next!