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For toddler and preschool-age children, the world is full of new things to discover and learn about. One of the first things they need to learn is their basic shapes, such as circles, squares, rectangles, and so on. I don’t know about your kids, but at that age, my kids have the attention span of a gnat. Bless their hearts. There is so much to take in and see and do in the world that sitting in a chair learning from flashcards isn’t top on their list of things to do. The best way for kids to learn is in a natural and multi-sensory environment, and this activity combines learning with the task of baking. Food always keeps my kids’ attention.
The next time you want to help your children work on memorizing their shapes, try this activity and bake a shape.
1. To start, you will need to get a can of biscuit or sugar cookie dough from the grocery store. That’s the easiest way if you want to focus on making shapes instead of mixing up a recipe in the kitchen. However, if you prefer, you can always make your own favorite recipe instead.
2. Roll out the biscuit or cookie dough. You will need to have it somewhere low enough where your child can easily reach it, so you may want to do it on the table instead of the counter. Another option is to have your child stand on a stool or chair.
3. Find some cookie cutters that represent the shapes you want your child to learn. Amazon has these great Basic Shape cookie cutters.
Or, you can go all out and get these with the alphabet and numbers, too – boo-ya!
Show your child how to cut a shape out of the dough with the cutter. Remember to flour the cookie cutter so the dough comes out easily. If your dough gets stuck in the cookie-cutter, you could end up with a frustrated toddler or preschooler.
Another alternative is to make the shapes by hand instead of with cookie cutters. Have some examples of the shapes nearby so your child can copy them. This could also be done with letters instead of shapes. Children love to see what their name looks like in print, and will have a lot of fun creating it themselves.
4. When you have enough shapes made, help your child to arrange them on the cookie sheet. You can make them even yummier by spreading them with butter, then sprinkling them with sugar and cinnamon. Now you have a delicious cinnamon-tasting treat.
5. Put them in the oven to bake, according to the recipe’s instructions. You can add to the fun by watching them bake in the oven together. Children are fascinated by how cookies and biscuits grow and spread while they’re being baked.
6. When they’re baked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. When they’re ready to eat, examine the shapes with your child. Ask if he remembers what each one is called. You may want to play a game – if he can name the shape, he can eat it!
When your child begins to learn the various shapes, he will see them everywhere he looks. A fun activity like this one can help him learn to identify shapes on his own.