Why are Shapes Important?

Throughout this month, we’ve been talking about colors and shapes. I’ve mentioned several times how much I like playing with colors and shapes in my lessons. I use and re-use colors and shapes in tons of ways in my lessons. I’ve been teaching for thirteen years and haven’t been bored with colors and shapes yet! You know who else loves playing with colors and shapes without getting bored? Kids!

As I mentioned in this post, colors and shapes are the first things we learn to interact with the world around us. No matter where my riders fall on a cognitive level, I find shapes to be engaging for any rider – from my youngest riders at age 4 to my independent adult riders. Shapes, like colors, help people identify and organize visual information. Shapes can also be used to identify and organize tactile information because different shapes feel different.

Riders that start identifying and sorting shapes are developing logical thinking skills and taking the first step toward literacy and math skills.

We can help riders learn shapes by using items they are already familiar with, like our toys. Pulling out balls, rings, basketball hoops, and buckets can all be used to teach circles. Riders can see and feel the shape of a circle. We can do the same thing with squares. Use dice, cubes, and boxes to teach the shape of squares.

One toy I love playing with are the ‘shape and sort’ toys like this:

Shape and Sort Toy

Once riders start to understand shapes, lessons can expand to include shapes in and out of the arena. Ask riders what else is shaped like a circle, or square, or whatever other shape you are playing with. Have riders sort shapes into similar categories. See last week’s post for more ideas on how to play with shapes in your lessons.

I hope you learned something new today and it sparked some creative ideas for you!

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