One of the concepts we explored while being home in isolation was shapes and patterns in nature. First we read Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes. It's a lovely book about spirals in nature and I encouraged my preschooler to look for spirals around our home and yard.
I gathered some shape and pattern materials including the Transparent Pattern Alphabet cards by na2ure and I printed the 2D Shapes in Nature by Montessori Nature. These sets include images of items in nature that have interesting shapes and patterns. The cards are fantastic if you are working inside or don't have a lot of varying plants or shapes in your natural environment.
We looked at the picture cards to see what shapes and patterns we could identify. For some shapes like a circle, this feels like simple work and it could be done by a much younger child (perhaps 2.5yrs+), but when you start talking about a quatrefoil or a curvilinear triangle it becomes more complex.
The Pattern Alphabet cards have lines and patterns like tiling, meander, parallel and symmetry, all really interesting, building blocks for the children to learn.
We used the Pattern Alphabet cards and a nature tray to see what shapes and patterns we could find. We also could have used the 2D Shapes in Nature cards. The advantage of the Pattern Alphabet cards is that they also contain patterns, not just shapes and they are transparent, so the child can literally hold the card up to an object to see if it matches or aligns with the patterns or shapes.
This looks like a triangle!
Once we were out of isolation we took the Pattern Alphabet cards to the park to look for more shapes and patterns. I put the cards into two categories shapes and patterns.
While I was expecting us to identify shapes in nature, Otto found lots of shapes in our built environment. A triangle in the coloured cone.
Parallel lines in the football goal posts.
Branching, in a tree.
There are lots of circles in the playground!!
Are these squares?
Much like when we went on a number hunt, using the pattern and shape cards has raised our awareness of what is in our environment. Otto is now hyper-aware of shapes and patterns around us and can't stop pointing them out! It has also helped us to see the connection between shapes and lines. The pattern cards will also be super useful when we start exploring the concepts like symmetry and angles.
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