5 Montessori Activities to Learn shapes using the Educational Geometry Blocks (VIDEO)

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The Educational Geometry Blocks help children from all environments grow in their sensorial development of visual discrimination of shape.

Made from solid, natural wood, this educational toy would be an ideal gift that will last to be passed on from generation to generation. No need for batteries nor flashing lights, offer children the opportunity to learn how to entertain themselves and the chance to make a head-start on their exciting journey of geometric exploration.                          

In this Montessori activity video guide, our teacher will demonstrate activities using Puzzle A and Puzzle B from this educational toy.

  

How to Learn shapes Montessori activity #1 – Shape Matching Activity (Age 3)

Let’s start with Geometry Block Puzzle A. This block has nine whole shapes, made of solid wood that are easily held by little hands. Block A has the following shapes: yellow square, green rectangle, pink cross, purple triangle, dark blue pentagon, red star, light blue circle, orange rhombus and green quatrefoil.

Here is a lesson you can do with Block A. Begin the lesson by taking out each piece carefully and placing it at random around the rug, showing the child how to hold each piece.

Now, use your finger to trace the inside of the puzzle to find the shape you’re looking for. Point to the shape and see if it matches. Continue on to the next shape, making sure to trace the outside and then search on the mat.

It’s important for children to feel the inside as well as the three-dimensional shape so that they get used to figuring out which shape could fit in visually. Once the children get better at this skill, they won’t need to trace the inside, they’ll just be able to find the shape on the mat. Practice in this area of visual discrimination helps children to find future success in all areas of development.

How to learn shapes Montessori activity #2 – Explore the shapes (Age 4+)

 Another lesson that you can give with Block A is the discussion about the number of sides on each shape. For example, there are three shapes in this puzzle with four sides, the rhombus, the square and the rectangle.

PICTURE How to learn shapes Montessori activity #2 – Explore the shapes (Age 4+)

You can start by counting the sides of each shape to show that while they look different, they all have the same number of sides. Next you can show that while they look similar when placed on top of each other, you can tell that these shapes are actually different. Even the rhombus that looks kind of like a square is different once you place it on the other shapes.

Now you can demonstrate how to put the shapes back into the puzzle. You can also show the children that these shapes will only fit into their designated spots and while they may fit into the other ones, they don’t fit as snugly as the ones that they are meant to be in.

Block A gives every child a chance to practice their knowledge about shapes and shape discrimination, while learning some new fun shapes as well.

How to learn shapes Montessori activity #3 – Focus on the circle shape (Age 5-6)

Now let’s take a look at Geometry Block B. This puzzle has three shapes divided into whole, half and thirds. Let’s explore a little more closely. First, remove the whole, half and third pieces of the circle puzzle, placing them in a row on the mat. 

Name the first one and trace it with your finger, “circle”. Make note that the circle has no corners. The circle is round and this makes the shape unique. “Whole”.

Next, look at the circle halves. Count the halves - “One, two”. Now, place the whole circle on top of the halves, they’re the same. If you place the half on top of the whole, you’ll see that you need the other half to complete the whole. But then, they are congruent – they’re the same shape.

How to learn shapes Montessori activity #3 – Focus on the circle shape (Age 5-6)

You can explain this word “congruent” to the child as well. Congruent means same size and shape. Two halves make a whole. Place the halves above so you can compare the whole to the thirds.

Compare the two by placing the whole on top of the thirds. They are congruent, they are the same shape and size. Next, move the thirds one piece at a time on to the whole. Hold on for one second before the last one for a little dramatic effect and show that two thirds do not make a whole, but three thirds make a whole. They are the same shape and size, they are congruent.

How to learn shapes Montessori activity #4 – The three-period lesson (Age 5-6)

Let’s place these three circles in a row so I can show you another activity. We’re going to do what we call a three-period lesson. The three-period lesson introduces, associates and recalls the subject being taught.

PICTURE How to learn shapes Montessori activity #4 – The three-period lesson (Age 5-6)

First, you name it – “Whole. Can you say whole?”

“Whole.”

“Half. Can you say half?”

“Half.”

“Third. Can you say third?”
“Third.”

Next you ask – “What is this? What is this?”, and “What is this?”, asking the child to recite the names back to you.

Finally, you ask them to do funny tasks, such as “Place the third on your shoes, place the half on your head”, or, “Can you place the third into my hand?”.

By performing these tasks, the child will show you that they understand the concept being taught. You can also keep it simple by placing the blocks on top of each other as well, such as the half on top of the whole, the whole on top of the third, or all of them stuck on top of each other. By changing up the questions that you ask the child it keeps it interesting and fun. The three-period lesson is a wonderful tool for insight into the knowledge children have gained from this lesson.

How to learn shapes Montessori activity #5 – Focus on the square shapes (Age 5-6)

Now let’s put the circles away and explore the next shape: the square. The interesting thing about the whole square, half square and third squares is that the square, when divided into halves and thirds, makes a rectangle.

Repeat the three-period lesson with the whole, half and third squares, showing the similarities and differences between the different size rectangles that make up the half and thirds of the square.

One of the great things about the three-period lesson is that you can change up the questions at any time to make sure that the child fully understands what you’re teaching them.

The last shape in this puzzle is the hexagon, whole, half and thirds. The hexagon has 6 sides. When beginning the lesson, count the sides of the hexagon. A child may say that the hexagon looks like a circle. This is a great opportunity to teach them how to count the sides.

PICTURE How to learn shapes Montessori activity #5 – Focus on the square shapes (Age 5-6)

A circle has one side and no corners. A hexagon has six sides and six corners. So, while they look kind of similar, they vary in sides and corners. Once again, give a three-point lesson to help the child recognize the differences between a whole hexagon, half hexagon and a third hexagon. And remember the three-period lesson helps us introduce, associate and recall the lesson being taught. Always finish a lesson by showing how to clean up.

Geometry Blocks A and B help children feel more confident in their abilities to recognize shapes, plus there’s a third geometry block that you can purchase that’s a slight variation of Geometry Block B. Through the use of these puzzles, children will feel more confident in their ability to discriminate between shapes.

Montessori toys and Sensorial Learning

Sensorial learning is of upmost importance to the Montessori way of teaching. Unlike traditional methods which may rely more upon the use of drawings in books, the Montessori pedagogy encourages children to learn hands-on. When you purchase this geometry puzzle for children, the shapes literally become part of his or her world.

 Learning through touch is an extremely important part of the learning process for young children. Not only will this geometry puzzle block help them to learn to recognize shapes and their basic attributes, it will also improve their hand to eye coordination and motor skills. Extremely important developments that will enhance their future learning capabilities.

When children hold a shape from this puzzle between their fingers, they will be able to experiment in a way that books alone cannot inspire. Watch children turn the shapes, admire their colors and compare their forms. You’ll be surprised how even young children are drawn to the this eye-catching, ergonomically designed block puzzle.

Educational Toys and the Importance of Shapes

As adults, we often take the world around us for granted. Look at it through a child’s eyes and you’ll see it’s quite a different place. When you offer children a Montessori educational geometry block, you’re offering them a whole new insight into the world around them and preparing them for more complex geometric studies in years ahead.

 Aid their drawing skills as well as their ability to describe their environment by teaching them the shapes thanks to this Montessori geometry block puzzle. Break down popular images into their composite shapes together, a bus for example becomes a rectangle with squares for the windows and circles for the wheels. Breaking down real life objects or images in this way aids children to reproduce images and helps them to identify different parts of a whole.    

The shapes in this geometry puzzle set also allow children to experiment and to compare individual shapes. This develops important problem-solving skills later in life and it can also help to boost children’s confidence. When children complete their puzzle, the sense of achievement can help to spur them on in their learning and self-confidence. Through trial and error and then mental deduction they will succeed. An extremely important lesson for any child.

 

Montessori toys to Learn Shapes - Age Recommendations

These geometry puzzle blocks are suitable from age 3 upwards. They provide stimulation for a wide age group, with their fun, attractive colors and easy to pick up size.

While you may be tempted to teach children all you know about the shapes and want to help them to complete the puzzle, it is important to allow them time to experiment. After briefly showing them the puzzles and naming the shapes, leave them to explore the pieces.

This is key to the Montessori way of learning. Children will be able to learn a lot about shapes from playing with this Montessori toy. If you watch them carefully you may see them making some astute observations, such as the square can be turned four ways and fit into its place each time, the rectangle only turns twice to fit in. At this point you could suggest the correlation between the shapes and their number of sides. However, as much as possible, allow children to self-discover.

Another fun way to use this Montessori material is to lay out the shapes and have children close their eyes, then to identify the shape from touch alone. This is not only a really fun exercise, it also helps to consolidate children’s memory and recognition of the shapes. Children will have to feel and count the number of sides and then visualize what their fingers are feeling.

Younger children are often attracted to the bright colors used in this set. You can help to consolidate numbers, shapes and colors through a guessing style game adapted to children’s level. Lay out the shapes and children can ask you questions, when they guess the right shape that you have in mind, they can put it in the puzzle block and eliminate it from the lineup.

Remember, be on hand to support and inform, but the beauty of these geometry puzzle sets is really in their simplicity and how children can learn a great deal from handling the shapes. Once they have succeeded in shape identification, there are plenty of further possibilities. The shapes can be compared to one another, rotated, their sides counted, and corners counted.

In today’s modern world where technology and screens prevail, it is important to give your children the chance to learn hands-on, a valuable skill-set that is central to the Montessori learning ethos. Young children will improve their hand to eye coordination, while older children will be able to handle the shapes in order to bring aspects of their textbooks and geometrical teaching to life. All thanks to these puzzles.

 


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