It’s spring, and we have been learning a lot about lifecycles of creatures that we find in our backyards like butterflies and frogs. I wanted to expand on that learning with a fun activity that works on shape recognition. When I went to the dollar store to get flowers for our Mother’s Day centerpieces ( you’ll want to click on that seriously they are adorable), I saw these fog cut-outs and knew I had to find a way to use them. I decided to use them for a circle time shape match activity that we could transition to a free choice activity after doing it as a group.
Now you might notice that all the shapes are one color… kind of boring right? I think so too, BUT there is a method to my madness and monochrome-ness ( I swear that’s a word). See we’ve been talking a lot about shapes, and my students have color matching down so I wanted to make all the shapes the same color os that the only way children could match them was by shape, not by color. If I had done this earlier in the year, I would have made all the triangles one color, squares a different color, etc… to provide a scaffold but I am taking that scaffold away because as I explain in my post about scaffolding, they are not supposed to be permanent. We want to scaffold children’s learning until they can do it solo, and I think my students can!
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Gather your materials. You will need frog cut outs, as I said I got mine at Dollar Tree, some googly eyes, glue dots, green (3) and orange card stock (1), scissors, and a laminator. To cut out the shapes I also used a paper cutter and punch.
Start by making the lily pads. I just drew a lily pad on one of the green card stock and cut out, then used it as a template for the other two. You could make more with more shapes, but my 3-year-olds are challenged enough with 3.
Next cut out the shapes. I made circles, triangles, and squares.
Glue the shapes to the frogs and lily pads.
Cut out and add the googly eyes – this is optional but so so fun!
Hide the frogs around the room – have an assistant teacher do this while you read the book.
I like starting by reading a book about frogs at circle time; some are my favorites are:
From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. This is a little long for toddlers, but 4-5-year-olds are the perfect age for this nonfiction book. The illustrations are exciting and keep wiggly kiddos interested. The book has just the right amount of information about frogs for preschoolers to process and ask more questions. I think a sign of a great nonfiction book is that it sparks further curiosity about the subject in the readers.
Leap Back Home to Me by Lauren Thompson gave me goosebumps and made me want to give the author a high five. The little frog leaps away from mama frog going further and further away but leaps back home to his mama each time with then end being spot on with the text changing from ” then leap home to me” to ” when you leap back home, here I’ll be.” My heart was aching seeing the little frog grow so fast! I love this book. It’s got a very simple repetitive text (great for emergent readers!), the illustrations by Matthew Cordell are goofy and sweet. They match the text perfectly so they give significant clues to readers who may be struggling with a word. As a read aloud this book is fantastic, not only because the repetitive text has a great rhythm but as the little frog gets more independent and goes further from home the things he is leaping over are pretty goofy and will get more than a few laughs from any audience you are reading it to!
Ask the children if they would like to help you find some frogs! Tell them that you are all going on a frog hunt. Each child should find one frog and then return to the circle.
When everyone is back from frog hunting, place the lily pads in the middle of the circle and one by one hold each lily pad up. Point to the shape and ask the children if their frog has that shape on their belly. If they do invite them up to place the frogs on the lily pad.
Repeat with the other shapes.