Visual discrimination is an important skill for young learners, as children need to be able to tell the difference between shapes in order to identify letters. Luckily, the visual discrimination aspect of Shape-O ABC’s is phenomenal. It has high-quality puzzles with non-traditional geometric shapes (my fave), letter recognition elements, and spelling activities. Oh, and be sure to visit the game settings to adjust the skills to your child’s level. Happy puzzling!
Prepare to use the app by introducing one of these activities.
- Pasta Picassos:Create gallery-worthy artwork using various shaped pasta pieces. All you need is pasta, glue, paper, and a little imagination! Let your child explore the different shapes and think about how s/he would put them together to create a real-life object. Have a flower lover? Use about ten pieces of penne pasta for the petals and arrange them to make a flower. Add some spaghetti pieces for the stem, and viola! Instant art. Click here, here, or here for inspiration. P.S. - A low temperature glue gun works best to speed up drying time, but regular white glue will work, as well.
- ABCya.com:Kids love playing games online, so let your child head on over to ABCya.com to practice letters and shapes. Even though the games technically start at the Kindergarten level, preschoolers could also play them thanks to the embedded voice instructions. Play with a few and find which games would be best for your child’s skill level.
Help your child get the most out of an app experience by trying the following activities.
- Predictions:Before starting each puzzle, ask your child to guess what the object will be. Predicting gets the mind ready to learn and sets a purpose for completing an activity. After the puzzle is complete, have your child evaluate whether his/her prediction was confirmed or disconfirmed (I like using these terms instead of “right” or “wrong”, as the former encourages inquiry).
- A Shape by Any Other Name:Discuss the names of the shapes within each puzzle. Since your child may have to turn the shapes to complete some of the puzzles, be sure to explain that a shape is still the same name even if it is rotated. For instance, a “semicircle” remains a “semicircle”, no matter if the flat side is facing up or down.
Extend the app experience with these real life activities.
- Shapes of Our World:Get outside and explore – the world is full of shapes. Take a walk with your child and point out the shapes that you see. What shape is that roof? Can you find a circle on that car? Ooh! I spot a rectangular mailbox over there! Doing this will make learning shapes more authentic and solidify a real-world connection.
- Optical Illusions:Optical illusions challenge us to confirm what we think we see. When presented with an optical illusion the brain fills in missing pieces to help us make sense of what is in front of us. But look again and you may see something different! Slodive.com has interesting optical illusions online, while Usborne has a set of 50 optical illusion activity cards that you could purchase and practice in the car or on the bus. Check them out with your child and prepare to be stumped!
- Shoebox + Paper Towel Tube + Rubber Bands = BANJO AWESOMENESS!Why not add some musical awesomeness to your lives with a homemade banjo? For directions on making a kid’s banjo, click here. You may even want to get fancy and use different types of rubber bands to incorporate a variety sounds. As you create this fun musical instrument with your child, talk about the shapes of each object (i.e. the shoe box is a rectangle, the paper towel tube is a cylinder, etc.) and rock on!