Friday, September 6, 2013

Practicing our colors and shapes with balloons

Uh, yeah, I've been out for awhile. I know. You shouldn't be surprised.
I do have tons to share with you, but it's doubtful that I'll get around to showing you everything.
One thing you missed is the beginning of "homeschool" here at our house. Now, the kiddo is only 2 1/2, so he isn't big enough for school, I know.  But he has been BEGGING to go to school for over a year. So finally, I gave in. We are doing 'school'. (We do plan on homeschooling the little guy once the time comes, but for now there's no other option- schools don't take kids that small, nor could I part with him for any length of time)

So I will share with you how I've organized things and such a little later, for now I will just share with you an activity we did a few weeks ago. (yeah. I thought about changing the date on this post but then realized I might as well be honest with you.)

So one of my goals is to reinforce colors and shapes with him. He is pretty good at shapes, sometimes gets triangle and square mixed up, but knows circles, stars, hearts, diamonds, and is learning harder things like rectangles and hexagons.  Colors he is improving but it's been a hard concept. I started out by consistently pointing out things that were "green like grass" "blue like the sky" "red like a fire truck" etc, so that he could have some association to go with each color, rather than just the abstract concept of a color.  This worked great, however he started to say things like "this shirt is grass!" instead of "this shirt is green!" so now we are working on remembering the color name rather than the association, and it's working beautifully.

So one of the first 'school' activities we did for this year was to review colors and shapes (this also gave me an idea of which ones he knows well and which we need to focus more on).  Daddy brought home a big bouquet of helium balloons (salvaged from a work party), and we put them to good use! I cut out basic shapes (circle, square, triangle) out of colored paper (just red, blue, green, and yellow) and taped them to the bottom of the ribbons.  The ribbons hung to just the right height where Riley had to stand on his tiptoes to grab them.

Our balloon game set up in our schoolroom/kitchen
 There are a couple things we did with this:
-I would say "bring me a circle" and he would look for whatever shape I requested in any color.
-I would ask "can you find one that is red" and he would look for whatever color I requested in any shape.
-I would ask "can you find a yellow square" this was a bit more complicated for him as he had to remember both the color and the shape.  He got frustrated after only a couple so we stopped that.
-We switched and he would call out a color or shape for mommy to find, then I would bring it to him and ask if I was right. (I purposely did several of them wrong to see if he would correct me!)
-We sorted them out by color and then again by shape (all the reds in this corner of the room, etc)

Having fun with our game!
Riley loved it! It was more of a game than a 'school' thing, which is exactly what you should do with kids anyway. I am a strong believer in active learning, or learning through play.  It also helped us practice some motor activities - jumping, running, walking on tiptoe, and grasping small items!  You could adapt this activity to fit whatever your child needs to work on - letters, numbers, sight words, images of vocabulary words etc will hang from the balloon strings as well! :)

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