Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Circle Art for Toddlers

In my toddler class, we focus on a shape every month. That sentence alone could drive many of you away, or intrigue some readers for the wrong reasons. Let me explain:

What It Does NOT Mean:

  • That we push our 1-year-olds to memorize shape names and outlines
  • That we talk only about shapes all month long
  • That I am only allowed to mention that specific shape for the entire month (obsessively showing a picture of a rectangle, for instance, when there’s a perfectly good heart printed on one of their shirts that day)
  • That they’re geometric geniuses by the end of the year

What it DOES Mean:

  • The toddlers, who are learning all about the world around them at astonishingly exponential rates, receive an introduction to shapes and their names.
  • We play with shapes in lots of different ways, and not just because they’re shapes.
  • Some of them might actually learn how to say the names of some shapes.
  • I point out the shapes that come up in our many activities, and also just in daily life.
  • We have some fun books we can read that show us examples of different shapes, such as a square cracker, a heart-shaped bead, or a starfish.
  • I create a few activities each month that have to do with that shape, which the students are welcome to participate in.
  • We play with paint! :)

At the beginning of the school year, I planned out the shapes we would be learning about. I set aside August for the students to get used to our classroom and the daily routine of school (though I had been with them all through the summer, so that made for an easy transition). In September, we were introduced to the simple circle.

Yes, those are pool noodles. I got them on sale at the end of summer and cut them up for us to play with. This was one of the most popular centers in our room – even with their limited attention spans, one-and-a-half-year-olds sat by this bin and scooped, stacked, looked through, and laughed at these little circles. Some of them were even able to pick them up using tongs.

But I’m here to talk about our art project. Again, it was super simple, and they had so much fun exploring lots of different circles. We used… are you ready?

Pool noodles…

…toilet paper tubes…

…and wine corks! (And paint, of course.)

Yes, sometimes we smeared them around so they didn’t make a perfect circle.

And sometimes we stuck our hands in the paint.

But at the end of the day, we explored, we had fun, and we probably learned something – if not about a shape, then maybe about paint or the consistency of a pool noodle or the fact that “I can create something!”

So simple! So fun! So messy! And so worth it!

Just look at these masterpieces!

They will be going in each student’s portfolio… but that’s another post for another day.

Check out more monthly shape activities!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like great fun and a wonderful way to explore shapes and colours.

    Thanks for adding to Kids Get Crafty (do add the exploration of a "great artists" to the project next time too! What Kids Get Arty is all about).



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