In a previous post, I was telling you about how we got to make a recycled paper box for all those documents, my son’s old paintings, scribbles, projects, and any other kind of paper that we could potentially repurpose.
In a nutshell, what we did was cut all those old masterpieces into different sizes and shapes and we stored them in a box.
The simple act of cutting the paper itself was great scissors practice for the little man but we had greater plans for those little bits of paper.
The very first activity that we did using the waste paper box as we call it, was this awesome Mosaic Fish Craft. It was great fun to make, it kept my son engaged for the duration of the activity and the end result was fantastic.
So, the next activity that we did involving our waste paper box is this simple shape matching activity that not only it is fun but also great for brain development.
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What are the benefits of matching activities?
Matching activities such as this shape matching puzzle provide great exercise for young brains that will set the foundation for other vital skills. So, the more opportunities for this kind of play you provide for your little one, the better they will become at it. Just make sure that the activity is age-appropriate otherwise it will have the opposite effect.
Here are some of the fantastic benefits of matching type activities for young children (toddlers and preschoolers in particular):
- Improves visual-spatial reasoning and visual discrimination
- Hand-eye coordination
- Critical thinking (which means that they will be better equipped to make decisions, question things, come up with new ideas etc)
- Short-term visual memory
- Improves concentration
- Attention to detail and being able to tell the differences and similarities between objects
- Provides opportunities to improve vocabulary
Another great advantage of this shape matching activity, besides all the cognitive benefits, is that it doesn´t require many materials. You can set it up with items that you most likely already have in the house.
Here is what you need:
- A4 paper (I used a thicker kind as it is easier to work with but you can use whatever you have around)
- Bits of paper cut into different shapes
- Gluestick or blu-tack (I always have blu-tack in the house, it´s so useful for many things)
Shape matching activity set up
After you have gathered all your materials it is time to set up the activity which is extremely simple and fast (two of my favourite elements hehe).
The first step is to decide on how many shapes you are going to work with ( I had 10 for my son) and choose the paper shapes that you are going to use. You can either cut the paper into classic shapes like triangles, squares, circles, etc especially if you are looking to teach them to your little one. As you can see, I went with random shapes which I think challenged my son a little bit more. So, keeping in mind your child’s developmental stage you can choose to go with either classic geometric shapes or random ones. Also, it´s up to you how many you choose to work with depending on the amount of time your child can stay focused.
After you have chosen your paper shape, simply arrange them on the page and draw their outlines with a pen or a pencil.
That´s pretty much it, in a matter of minutes, with a minimum effort you have set up a fun shape matching puzzle for your little one.
Playing and impressions
I was happy to see that my little bug was engaged from beginning to end. Not only that but he asked to do it again the following day. Which is a total success in my book.
The way he did it, because some shapes were somewhat similar in shape, was by process of elimination. He would place the shape on an outline, decide if it fitted, if not move on to the next, and so on until he found the perfect match. I was quite impressed with that since I didn´t model this strategy first, he came up with it on his own.
The first time we did this paper shapes activity, I simply layed out the cut-outs on the table next to George and he´d just pick whichever one he wanted, find the correct outline and glue it.
The second time we did it, I thought I´d add a small element of surprise by putting the bit of paper in a bag. So, instead of picking the shape that he wanted, he´d extract a random one from the bag. It´s really up to you how you want to play.
What I loved about this activity is that my son fully focused on what he was doing, he had fun, and he displayed good problem-solving skills (which I was overjoyed with, as he usually doesn’t) and he was so proud every time he found a match not to mention that he was so happy with the end result.
So, if you are looking for a super-simple activity, that you can set up in minutes, it doesn´t cost a thing, it is fun and has so many developmental benefits for your little star, then give this shape matching activity a try. You will not regret it.
If you do try it, I would love to see the finished masterpieces and those proud faces in the comment section below or on our email address.
Join our Facebook group Learning Activities for Kids and get some inspiration.