Toddler and Pre-school Theme Days
Having a Circle Theme Day is a fun way to teach/review/reinforce the shapes with your pre-schooler. I found it useful to do the basic shapes individually to emphasize the differences more clearly.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in which order
I couldn’t think of any children’s song for this theme but for fun you and your child could dance around and around the living room to Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Right Round” in honour of the circle.
Print out my Circles Colouring Sheet with different sized circles. Glue the finished picture in your Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Guide your child to trace each circle with his/her finger saying “round circle” each time to emphasize what makes a circle.
CIRCLE STICKERS OR CUT OUTS:
Materials: Circle Stickers or circle foam stickers or circle paper cut outs, coloured paper, glue stick, and a face cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Let your child choose what colour paper he/she wants for the background.
· Step 2: Give your child the stickers or cut outs and let him/her stick or glue them to the coloured paper in any design or manner.
Materials: Crayons and markers, coloured paper, child-safe scissors, glue stick, print out the Things That Are Circular Colouring Page, a face cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Sit with your child as he/she colours each object on the colouring page.
· Step 2: Help your child cut out the individual pictures.
· Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use.
· Step 4: Fold the sheet of coloured paper into three parts (as if you were going to put it in an envelope) and cut it along the folds to make three rectangles.
· Step 5: Fold each of these three pieces of paper in half and cut along the folds to make six smaller pieces of paper.
· Step 6: Have your child apply glue to each coloured picture and glue each one to a separate sheet of small paper.
· Step 7: Help your child staple the sheets of paper together to make a little book.
· Step 8: Read the book together to review what circles are.
Materials: Coloured paper, old magazines, child-safe scissors, glue stick, face cloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Look through old magazines with your child had have him/her point out anything that is circular in shape.
· Step 2: Help your child cut out the circle pictures to make a pile of circle pictures.
· Step 3: Have your child pick the colour of paper he/she wants to use.
· Step 4: Show your child how to glue the pictures onto the coloured paper to make a collage and then let him/her glue the circle pictures on the paper however he/she wants.
· Step 5: When the collage is dry display (fridge, bulletin board, child’s door) or glue into the Family Theme Day Scrapbook.
Materials: A large carrot cut into a number of smaller finger sized pieces, white paper, paint, waxed paper, face cloth for dirty fingers, newspaper or plastic for covering the table, old t-shirts or art smocks .
· Step 1: Have your child pick the colour or colours of paint he/she wants to use.
· Step 2: Show your child how the end of the carrot looks like a circle then press it in the paint and press it on the white paper to leave a circle print.
· Step 3: Let your child stamp the carrot pieces in the paint to create a circle picture.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about shapes.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about shapes.
Go to the library on your own to find books about shapes to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (type in “Shapes” or “Circles” under Children’s Books). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these titles:
· So Many Circles, So many Squares, by Tana Hoban, Greenwillow Books, 1998 – There are no words in this book, only photographs. Have your child trace the circles with his/her finger. This is a good book to play a little game of spot the circle with your child.
· A Circle in the Sky, written by Zachary Wilson and illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi, Children’s Press, 2007 – A little girl sees a circle in the sky (the moon) and makes a rocket using different shapes to visit it.
· Round is a Mooncake, written by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Grace Lin, Chronicle Books, 2000 – A little girl finds things that are round, square and rectangular all around her that are related to her American Chinese heritage.
· Shapes Capers, by Cathryn Falwell, Greenwillow Books, 2007 – A group of five children have fun with five different shapes (circles, squares, triangles, semicircles, and rectangles) making different pictures.
Serve up some hot round pancakes for this theme day.
Round crackers: there are many different types of crackers that are round, try to find some in different sizes.
Cut a cheese string into little coins for some quick circular cheese (or use a small circle cookie cutter on a slice of cheese to make bigger circles of cheese).
Cut some pepperoni or salami into round slices (or buy pre-sliced).
Cut a cucumber in round slices for vegetable snack that is circular.
Whether toasted or eaten cold, bagels make a perfectly round (and delicious) lunch spread with your child’s favourite toppings.
Using either large or small pitas, stuff them with your child’s favourite toppings for a round lunch.
Using either large or small pitas, top them with shredded cheese and put them under the broiler for 3 minutes to melt.
Cookie Cutter Sandwiches:
Cut two slices of bread with a circular cookie cutter to make a regular sandwich into something special.
Pizza is the ultimate round supper.
Burgers on buns work well for a circular meal.
If your child is more adventurous try some vegetarian sushi rolls for a different round meal.
Greek Pita and Chicken:
Dice chicken breasts and marinate them in olive oil, oregano, lemon and garlic. Skewer the marinated pieces and either cook in the oven (350º) or on a BBQ. Then arrange on a pita with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, (spread with hummus if desired).
During the day make some cookies (any variety: chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter) according to your favourite recipe (check online or in cookbooks or the back of chocolate chips for a recipe). These cook up into delicious circles to enjoy as a snack or a dessert.
A pie or tarts (either homemade or store-bought) make a special round treat.
Bake a cake in a round pan.
Materials: circle stickers or cut outs, a pen, glue stick (if needed), print out of the List of Circles I Can See worksheet.
· Step 1: Explain to your child that you are both on a hunt for the circles.
· Step 2: Walk through your house and/ or outside to look for things that are circular in shape.
· Step 3: When your child finds something circular you will write the name of the object on a slip of circle paper or a circle sticker and your child will stick the circle on the chart.
· Step 4: At the end of the hunt sit down and count out loud together how many circular things you both found. Review what you found by reading the chart out loud.
MAKE A CIRCLE:
Using string or yarn work together to make circles.
If your child has a shape sorting toy play with that (if it is a toy with more than one circle, remove the other shapes and only play with the circles).
Play “I Spy with My Little Eye” only searching for circular things.
Search through your child’s toys to find round ones like hula hoops and Frisbees to play with.
If you have a tambourine or hand drum play with those circular instruments.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with the theme of teaching shapes.
Try to find some of these titles that highlight the shapes:
· Baby Einstein: Baby Newton – All about Shapes, Baby Einstein Company, Walt Disney Home Video, 2002—with puppets, computer animated crayons and a clown made of shapes, plus videos of various toys and nature etc. to illustrate five basic shapes, this DVD is a great learning tool. It uses classical music plus a catchy song about shapes as well.
· Baby Einstein: Discovering Shapes Circles, Squares and More – Baby Einstein Company, Walt Disney Home Video, 2007—This one focuses on circles, ovals, triangles, squares and rectangles without the computer animated feature of the first one, but has more puppets and video clips of various toys and nature etc.. This has great added features for more interactive learning with your child.
· Blue’s Clues: Shapes and Colors, Viacom International Inc, 2003—Blue the dog and Joe go on a shape search while playing Blue’s Clues.
· Brainy Baby: Shapes and Colors, The Brainy Baby Company, LLC, 2002 – This DVD uses classical music, original songs about the shapes, live action clips of children with shapes (of various ages) and of toys, plus a few computer animated things as well (Highlights 12 shapes: circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, heart, oval, diamond, crescent, pentagon, hexagon and octagon).
· Sesame Street: Guess That Shape and Color, Sesame workshop, 2006—Elmo and Zoe and other friends on Sesame Street have fun with shape guessing games and searches .
Photo: C Wright
Circles from a sorting toy