Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Preschool activity - learning shapes and making monsters

Sorry I've been seriously slacking on posting anything lately - we've been busy and sick and enjoying the brief moments of spring sunshine we've had around here! In fact, we even took a week of "Spring Break" from preschool a couple weeks ago when we had a whole week of nice weather! We spent every day at the park or in our backyard soaking up as much sunshine as we could, knowing that winter wasn't really over for us just yet.

I've also been seriously slacking in the crafting department. I just haven't been motivated to actually dig out all my sewing stuff and make anything lately! Some day, I'm sure. I've still got lots of ideas bubbling around in my brain, just haven't found the time/energy to actually make any of them.

So instead I've been focusing more of my energy on preschool time! We finished the whole alphabet (doing a letter a day) and now we're just kind of winging it for now. I think we'll start on numbers soon.

The other day we did a Monster theme day, working on learning (practicing) shapes. And it was a lot of fun!

I helped him with the writing, but he chose the names. Silly kid!

First we read a story about monsters. There are so many to choose from! Here's a few of my favorites:
  • The Monster at the End of this Book (Sesame Street Golden Book
  • Where the Wild Things Are
  • That's Not My Monster (touchy-feely book)
  • Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
  • A Very Hairy Little Monster (it's a free iBook!)
We read A Very Hairy Little Monster 1) because we actually had it and 2) because the illustrations are very geometric and kind of silhouette style, so we could talk about the shapes.

Then we cut out a bunch of different shapes in different colors from construction paper.

I did most of the cutting since he's not very good with scissors yet, and his shapes would have pretty much all been blobs... but he picked which colors for which shapes and such!

Then I told him to make a monster with his shapes! He just glued the shapes onto a piece of paper. I guided him along by saying things like "Which shape do you want to use for his tummy?" or "He needs arms! What shape should his arms be?" or "Where should we put this square?" And then basically just let him go. We would name the color and shape of each piece as he glued it on. He ended up making two monsters and a monster pet with the shapes we'd cut out.

Then, since he said his monsters were holding hands, and they were friends, we decided to write "Monster Friends" on the page. He's getting really good at identifying letters, but still can't really write any of them. So I held his hand as we wrote on his paper, and he would tell me each letter after we wrote it.

And yes, their names are Brownie, Kevin, and Snail. The one named Snail is, according to him, a monster dog. Not a snail. That's just his name. I don't know where he comes up with these things. 

Some things I really liked about this activity:
- It was a theme he enjoys
- It was a very hands-on, self-guided activity
- It allowed him to be creative
- It reinforced a several of the concepts we've been working on lately, showing how they work together, and allowing him to show his understanding of them
- And most of all: he had a lot of fun learning!

We both really enjoyed this, and I think I want to do it again. I picked monsters because I felt like no matter how he put the shapes together it would work. What other themes could you do with this activity instead of monsters?