It is quite a relief that most of the pre-schools today believe in developing sensory and fine motor skills of the toddlers through activity based learning. Toddlers aren’t handed a pencil and notebook right away and asked to write and learn numbers and alphabets in this tedious and boring way. For those who have started play school for their toddlers in the recent years must have got a little nervous when your kids were not handed pencils during the entire year of going to the play school. In my case, even at the lower kindergarten level, my son’s school has begun the writing curriculum only now after the summer vacations. The entire learning during the preschool has happened mostly through craft based activities.
What I did
This was my son’s first summer vacation when he received actual summer vacations’ homework. Among several assignments, one of the activities that caught my fancy was an activity focusing on Shapes Craft. The parents were required to provide kids with paper cut outs of various shapes and get the kids to assemble the paper cut outs to form a comprehensive figure. So yes, I set out to the task with the following steps –
- Decide on what figures I wanted to work on with my son. Please keep in mind the complexity level your child can handle.
- Cut out different shapes that will combine to form the final figure.
- I also created a stencil outline of the final figure on the sheet of paper where the pieces would be pasted.
- Put all the stationery required to work with the kid in one place – A newspaper sheet to keep on the work table, paper sheet with the outline of the final figure, cut pieces of various shapes as required, glue stick
- Sit with the child on a separate work table and lay out the sheet and the shape pieces. Ask the child to match the paper pieces cut in various shapes with the outline on the base paper sheet.
- Once the child knows which piece goes where, put glue on the back side of the cut paper pieces and paste them in their respected place.
And you are done!
Benefits of Shapes Craft
While I was preparing to do this assignment with my son, I had a couple of objectives in mind. There were a few skills and abilities that I was aiming to work on with Nik. But once I completed the entire activity, I realised that the benefits of this assignment were manifold and significant for a toddler.
Development of fine motor skills
When you encourage your toddler to pick up the paper cuttings in specific shapes aand put them in matching shape outlines, the first and foremost benefit that you draw is better fine motor skills
In this activity, the child is using paper cuttings that are in specific shapes. Though your child might have learnt to identify these shapes in block format or in print, when they work with variations of the shapes, the concept of number of sides, big and small etc. get imbibed further. To make Shapes Craft more beneficial for the child, cut out similar shapes in different colours.
You are asking your child to create a pattern by combining a set of shapes, and they process the information and try to make relevant choices and take expected actions. They may not nail it in the first go. You encourage them to give it another chance. Probably with some encouragement and a couple of hits and trials, she will get it right. So what happened in the process? Your child solved a problem!
Enhanced creativity and ability to express
Once your child gets a hang of what she is expected to do, she will begin to take initiative and be more open to trying things in different ways. For example, for the snowman, I had cut out a smaller nose. But Nik insisted that the triangle I had cut was too small. He made me cut a bigger triangle for a nose. Later he clarified, “Mom! My snowman has a big nose. I like it this way.”
A path for expression
When your child completes one pattern with your assistance, he or she looks forward to doing it again with added enthusiasm. You will clearly see a difference in their confidence and their expressions the second time around. Kids reflect on their previous learnings and try and reuse the information independently. This new found confidence adds to their behavioural aspects of expressing themselves.
Children absorb both the positive and negative around them without any specific knowledge of their own. It is our responsibility as parents to give them a continuing atmosphere of positivity and learning. Getting them involved in activities like shape craft, ensures that they are hooked on to something constructive. Also, they learn to deal with similar problems in future. In a way, they enhance their experience bank.
And it’s quality time with your child
Doing Art & Craft activities helps you spend some quality time with your kid. There are no real measurable goals that you are chasing, but at the same time, you are working on various skills and abilities through experiential learning. You too can put aside all your stress and have some fun time creating patterns with shapes with your child.