I teach toddlers, and as I introduce concepts like numbers and shapes to them, I try to do it in a myriad of ways. No two children learn in the same way and so in my classroom I try to include these concepts in all sorts of explorations and play. We have shape beanbags, we have shape books, shape cookie cutters… and I wanted something soft that the children could manipulate and match. My goal with all these materials isn’t to sit down and direct my students to learn, but rather to invite them to explore, become curious and connected because then the learning will happen, no one has to force it. Here is how I made these in a split second, and my students have been matching them up ever since.
Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy card stock ( I got this in the kids section of Ikea, and I love how it’s corrugated because it’s fun to touch), some sticky back felt Sticky Stiff Felt Sheets (affiliate link), scissors, and a marker.
Cut the card stock into squares, make sure the corners aren’t too sharp, if they are just round them a little. I made eight total.
On the back of the sticky back felt draw two identical shapes for each shape. Please do not fret if it’s not perfect. Seriously I promise you the kids will still learn and have fun exploring if one star is a little wonky. I made circles, stars, rectangles, and hearts.
You’re done. Easy right?
Now how to use them, in my class I have these out at free choice, and I flip them face down and have children match them up like a little mini memory game. I also just explore them with them. Saying this like ” This heart is soft, how does that circle feel?” I also plan to use them for a circle time where I will hand them out ( I have one for each student) and then I will have shapes on a sticker on a bucket. After reading a book about shapes, I will invite my students to sort them. There is no real limit to how you can use them, but simple cards like these where they can feel and see the shape are invaluable, especially when they only take a few dollars and a few minutes to make.