I often get asked how I taught my daughter to read so early (by 4 and a half years old) and here is my answer.
I did not specifically sit with her and teach her letters and words, but I did expose her to shapes from an early age. I got magnetic shapes that you can stick on the fridge, and let her get used to the shapes by playing with them.
Eventually, she knew all their names and came to recognize the differences between them naturally. After that, letters and numbers came easily, once she had learned how to differentiate shapes and was able to group them by similarities, such as circle and oval, square and rectangle, right-angled triangle and equilateral triangle.
I strongly believe this exposure to shapes at an early age and my child’s ability to observe and notice the similarities and differences contributed to her acquiring letters and words sooner than other kids her age.
Why is learning shapes important for children?
There are many benefits to helping your kids get familiar with shapes and learn their names.
Kids can differentiate objects by their shape
Expose them to mathematical concepts early and give them an easier time recognizing letters
Help them organize visual information
Teach kids to arrange and categorize by comparing shapes, sizes, and positions.
How to teach young children about the different types of shapes and their names
Here are 7 ways to use free printable shapes activities to teach your kids about shapes through fun activities.
Trace the shapes
Although their clumsy motor skills might give them a hard time following the lines closely, by tracing the shapes, little kids can familiarize themselves with the lines and how straight and curved ones make different-looking shapes.
Color the shapes
Encourage your kids to try staying inside the lines of the shapes while coloring them. You can even ask them to add extra details to change the shapes into objects similar to the shape. For example, a square could be a window, a circle a snowman, and a triangle could be a slice of pizza.
Read out the names of the shapes for your kids
The names of shapes can be challenging for small kids, though the majority of kids love shapes and enjoy knowing how to say their names.
As you play games and help kids with their activities, say the name of each shape aloud as many times as you can, for your kids to become naturally familiar with shape names.
Find shapes in pictures
Recognizing shapes in a picture can be one of the ways to encourage young kids to observe and find similarities and differences.
Play shape-matching games
Print two copies of the same printable and help your child cut out the shapes, then watch and see if they can match the same shapes together.
Shape bingo for preschool-aged kids
Ask your kids to draw or place cutouts of shapes from the printable onto a 3×3 grid without duplicating any shapes, following the concept of bingo. Each person then takes turns naming one of their shapes and removing or crossing it off from their grid. The person who first manages to cross out or remove three shapes in a row is the winner.
Use the shape sheet as a blueprint for fun with playdough
See if your kids can create a shape out of playdough by following the shapes on the sheet. This will challenge them to observe the shape and form their playdough to copy the shape.
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