My friend over at Teaching Tiny Tots decided to start a weekly challenge. It's similar to our Unplugged projects, but geared more towards toddlers. This was the first week and the theme was shapes. Arin knows most of her shapes (with the exception of pentagon, hexagon, octogon, etc), so this was more of a review than a new learning experience. That was great though because we were able to focus our time on new games revolving around the theme, instead of actually teaching her what shapes are.
Arin's first activity was shape sorting. She had done this many times before, but never into bags (usually cups or piles). So that was new and fun for her. She likes to take handfuls of her foam beads, all the same shape or color and put them in the right pile all at once. At one time she had all blue shapes in her hand and she went to put them in one of the bags. Then she realized they were different shapes, so she took the time to correct the problem. I was happy that she caught the mistake on her own and wanted to fix it and do it the right way.
Next, we played a puzzle that Aunt Anne had given Arin earlier in the year. We haven't done school all week and Arin was happy to get back to it, but she was also testing to see how much she could get away with. She decided that I should do the puzzle for her. When I told her it was her game, she got a little moody, so I had to threaten putting the games away. That seemed to change her attitude and she was willing to participate and play the puzzle properly.
The next activity was for Arin to do some "sewing". I made her lacing cards. I have seen lacing cards several times, but it never really occured to me to make my own, until I saw it on this site. I made Arin a rectangle, a square, an oval, a circle and a triangle. First, I gave her the rectangle lacing card. Arin has never done a lacing card before. The closest she has ever come to this type of a project was making a Fruit Loops necklace and a pasta necklace. She loved this project and it'll definitely be on our activities list again in the future. Since this was the first time that she ever attempted this, I helped her by reminding her which hole to lace through next.Those were the shape projects we did this morning. Then it was lunch time and naptime and chore time and errand time and dinner time and then we did some more projects!
For the next game, I made some quick bean bags, which I saw here. Then, I took Arin's sidewalk chalk and I drew nine shapes in the driveway (my freehand drawing isn't so impressive, but it worked just the same). Then, I had Arin throw the beanbag on the shape that I called out. She needed help with the pentagon and hexagon, but the others she got right away. We've never played this game, so she thought it was fun. After she was done throwing the beanbags, I would call out a shape and she would hop onto that shape. She had fun with both variations of the game.
Then we went back inside and I gave Arin a cake pan filled with sand (from our last beach trip). I wanted to see if she could draw shapes in the sand. She did well with the circle, but I had to help her with the other shapes, which is not surprising as she's never done this type of an activitiy before.
As I have been typing this post, Arin came up to me with her shape paper bags and foam beads (the first activity for the day) and she asked me to help her set it up. She has been entertaining herself with sorting shapes for about 10 minutes now. I love to see her being able to entertain herself!
After the sand game, we played a game of memory. I had planned to make this game using water bottle caps, but then I realized I only had 5 matching caps, so I used safety outlet covers and cut the prongs off. Usually we play matching games, but my sister had played memory with Arin one other time, so I thought we should do a refresher on that. She needs more practice, but she had fun just the same.
For the last activity, I gave Arin another lacing card. This time she picked the circle. I let her do this with no help this time. She didn't go around the circle in the right order. She was here and there with it, so in the future I will have to remind her how to go in the right order, but again, she enjoyed herself and sometimes that's what's most important.
I had planned some other activities, but we have run out of time, so we'll save those for another time - maybe even tweak them to fit a different theme.