I was actually surprised that my daughter didn’t know how to distinguish a rectangle.
My parenting style is to focus on her emotional and social development, not necessarily on her academic performance. She goes to a fantastic preschool, so I put my trust in her classroom learning.
She just turned five, and of course, it doesn’t really matter that she doesn’t know what a rectangle is, but I thought that maybe adding movement to her learning might help her to grab the concept kinesthetically.
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Shapes Books for Kids
As always, we started the learning experience by getting some topic-related books at the library. I was also surprised that we couldn’t find many fun and interesting shapes books for preschoolers (Yes, a shape yoga book is brewing!).
Here are our favorite shapes books for kids:
The Shape Song Swingalong
by SteveSongs and David Sim
My daughter and I are big fans of SteveSongs (he’s great in live concert, by the way) music and Barefoot Books, so it’s no surprise that this shapes book is our favorite. A singalong CD comes with the book, making this a winner in teaching children about shapes!
by Stella Blackstone and Siobhan Bell
Another great book by Barefoot Books, this one takes the reader on an artistic journey to the sea, looking for shapes on ships. This would be a fun book to read when you integrate your shapes and ocean unit.
Bear in a Square
by Stella Blackstone and Debbie Harter
This cute little board book by Barefoot Books would be perfect to introduce shapes to infants and toddlers.
Circle, Square, Moose
by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky
This is an absolutely silly book about shapes, where a zebra and moose keep interrupting the story. My daughter has been requesting this book all week and howls with laughter at each page.
Round is Mooncake: A Book of Shapes
by Roseanne Thong and Grace Lin
This sweet book follows a girl who finds shapes (circle, square, and rectangle) in her urban neighborhood in China. I love that my daughter was learning about shapes while learning about an Asian country.
Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes
By Roseanne Greenfield Thong and John Parra
This is another great book by the same author as Round is a Mooncake; however, this book is set in Latin America. The little girl finds rectangles triangles, squares, circles, ovals, and stars in her neighborhood.
After reading the shapes book, we’ve been looking for shapes in our natural environment as we go about our day. For example, as we drive along in the car, my daughter has been pointing out signs that are rectangle, diamond, and triangle shapes. And then she finds triangle, rectangle, square, and circle shapes in the house. We also play “I Spy” for shapes, too. It’s been fun!
My daughter has been taking photos of shapes around us, and we’re going to make a Shapes Book using her photos. Then, she’ll write the shape word under the photo.
Shapes Yoga for Kids
After reading the shapes books for kids, you can make a list of shape words that you’d like your child to learn. For example:
circle, square, rectangle, triangle, oval, star, heart, hexagon, diamond, line, moon, and curve
You could check out our list of Yoga Poses for Kids page for ideas on creating yoga poses matching the shape keywords. Or you could follow along this Shapes Yoga sequence below.
Shapes Yoga Warm-up:
Start your Shapes Yoga session in Mountain Pose then stretch your arms up to Extended Mountain Pose. Pretend to be a straight line stretching up to the sky. You could then bring your straight arms back along your body, imagining that you are creating a circle with your arms.
Continue that flow: when your hands go up, inhale; when your hand come back down, exhale. Link movement to breath.
When you’re ready, bend your torso and touch your toes in a Standing Forward Bend. Get ready to step back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose (the first pose in the Shapes yoga sequence below).
Shapes Yoga Poses for Kids:
Below, you’ll find five yoga poses for kids, inspired by common shapes. Note that the poses have been chosen to link from one pose to the next in a yoga pose flow.
1. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Pretend to be a Triangle.
From Standing Forward Bend, step back to your hands and feet in an upside-down V shape, with your buttocks up in the air, and pretend to create a triangle shape. (You could also practice Triangle Pose to see a triangle created with your legs.) Say, “I’m a triangle!”
2. Plank Pose
Pretend to be a Rectangle.
From Downward-Facing Dog Pose, come forward to balance on your palms and on your bent toes, in a plank position. Keep your arms straight and your back long and flat. Imagine that you are creating a rectangle shape with your body. Say, “I’m a rectangle!”
3. Table Top Pose
Pretend to be a Square.
Drop your knees gently on the floor and come to an all-fours position with your fingers spread out and palms flat on the ground. Ensure that your back and neck are in a straight but neutral position. Your shoulders should be over your wrists, and your hips should be over your knees while the tops of your feet are flat on the ground. Pretend to create a square shape with your body. Say, “I’m a square!”
4. Child’s Pose
Pretend to be a Circle.
Shift back to sitting on your heels. Slowly bring your forehead down to rest on the floor in front of your knees, rest your arms down alongside your body, and take a few deep breaths. Pretend to be a circle shape with your body. Say, “I’m a circle!”
5. Resting Pose
Pretend to be a Star.
Lie on your back with your arms and legs stretched way out, like a star. Say, “I’m a star!” Breathe deeply and rest.
Other shapes that you could practice with yoga poses for kids are heart (Butterfly Pose), line (Extended Mountain Pose), or moon (Crescent Moon Pose).
You could talk the children through a shapes visualization story, imagining they are seeing shapes in their environment. Maybe they see shapes at the park, at the playground, or in their classroom? Allow your children to remain in resting pose for a few minutes, to absorb what they have been learning about shapes.
Needless to say, after learning about shapes this week through movement, discussion, and reading books, my daughter can easily distinguish a rectangle! And best of all, we had fun learning together.