Early Years Activity – Ways to use kids paintings – shape sorters

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 4 comments

Okay, a personal ‘pet hate’ of mine is the endless stream of paint blobbed on paper that comes back from playgroup with Isaacs name on it. I love that he uses the paints, but honestly, one ‘picture’ a month would probably do me just now (Isaac is not one of these children who treasure their work, he even puts his own paintings in the bin if you don’t nab them quick enough!).

I can see the dilemma though; I mean painting is just a painting right? After you splodge on the paint it’s job done right enough? Wrong! We’ve been trying hard recently to find constructive uses for our painted pictures. You’ll have seen last week that we did some non-messy messy play with paint covered in Clingfilm, and I felt loathe to trash the picture that resulted – we had such a lot of fun making it. So this week whilst Isaac was at playgroup me and Oscar set to work using the painting for something else...a shape sorter board!
 What you need:
Your kids old paintings (ones that have been done on stiffer construction type paper are best)
A big sheet of card or paper for the base board
A thick marker pen
Your brain engaged (you’ll see why in a minute – I am blaming baby brain though!)
What to do:
Cut out different shapes from your kids’ paintings - depending upon how used to this type of thing your child is you can increase the complexity of the shapes.
Arrange the shapes on the base board and draw round them (loosely so each shape easily fits within the boundary without your perfectionist child stressing over being able to tell which way up you drew round it – or is that just mine...).
I wrote the names of the shapes in them, and also on the back of my cut shapes so we could try matching letters too. Be sure not to muddle up your hexagons and your octagons here (see – I told you I had baby brain).
Muddle up your shapes around the edge of the board and let your child loose!

I actually started this project with Isaac (who’s 3) in mind, but while we were doing it Oscar (2) showed lots of interest in it and really enjoyed completing the task. Oscar is really praise driven (whereas Isaac only even does something if he takes a fancy to the actual task) and this meant Oscar was ecstatic when he completed the shape matching.

Outcomes and experiences:
You can chat about all manner of things, with Oscar we talked about the shapes names, but Isaac we counted the sides of the shapes, and we talked about round ones and ones with corners, we discussed if they still fitted if we turned them round, and if any of the shapes fitted within other ones boundaries, all at the same time as having fun!

At the end of the session I made a little wallet taping two sheets of paper together, folded the base board with all the shapes inside and slipped it in. Fits neatly away and easier to store than a heavy wooden one.
The possibilities are endless – any shapes you can draw around can be used. It can help fulfil an objective on the Scottish Early Years Curriculum for Excellence:

I enjoy investigating objects and shapes and can sort, describe and be creative with them (MTH 0-16a).

You could do this task with any other shapes; Isaacs good at his shapes and did the task almost too easily, so next time I might do numbers or letters.


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