In this post, I am going to tell you all about my newest activity called “Shape Aliens,” (with a free download, too!) and give you some other ideas for helping kids practice shapes as well! Learning shapes is one of the most basic, yet critical skills for children to learn in preschool and Kindergarten. So I’ve been working hard on coming up with some fun new ways to practice matching, recognizing, and drawing those shapes. Keep reading for some easy projects you can do with your child right from your home or classroom!
I saw a similar idea on Pinterest for using toy capsules as “UFO” on an addition worksheet on the blog called First Grade at Last. Check it out here! Using that as my inspiration, I created that Shape Alien in UFO’s activity as a “make and take” for my “Reinforcing Learning: Letters, Numbers, and Shapes” session next week at I Teach K in Las Vegas! So I thought I would also share it here. Participants that come to the session will also get the little toy capsules that go with it, though! (Oh, boy!) Yes, I ordered a whole box FULL of toy capsules (those things that come out of gum ball machines with prizes in them) so that I could use them as part of my make and take. Just look at that picture below!
This is what 2500 toy capsules looks like! I got them from www.gumballs.com. And by the way, how do you like my shoes? And my floor tile? LOL!
Why did I do that, you ask? Well, I just wanted to do something nice and special for the participants in that session. I’m giving away sets of my Critical Thinking Question Cards For Young Children (but printed in black and white and at half size because there are another 200+ people in that session, too) at my “Making Critical Thinking ‘Do-Able’ for Kindergartners” session. You can read about these cards on this blog post here (scroll down to the bottom.)And they are for sale on my TPT store here.I got the pictures for the Shape Aliens from our workbook called Shape Creatures.
In “Shape Creatures,” There are a lot of other cute little pages that you could do similar things with as well. To make my “Shape Aliens,” I just reduced the size of the pictures down to an inch square so that they would fit into these little 1.1 inch toy capsules. I would have preferred to give the participants the larger capsules (the kind that you get out of a gum ball machine for 75 cents or a dollar), but they were just too expensive to purchase for the 200 people that are signed up for the session.
You can get the whole workbook full of our fun Shape Creatures from HeidiSongs here.
So! THIS is what you do with the Shape Aliens in UFO’s activity:
1. Purchase some toy capsules either on gumballs.com, Amazon or at your local gumball machine, LOL! It will be cheaper to get them from a gum ball machine if you only need enough for one or two kids to share. If you want enough for a group of children to use all at once, then consider ordering them from a website. You might even have some luck asking parents to bring in a few!
2. Copy the small Shape Aliens on card stock paper and color them, just for fun. I colored mine the same colors as the lids on the toy capsules that they were to be in. I laminated mine, but that actually made it harder to fit them into the capsules, so you might not want to go that direction. But I always assume that somebody is going to sneeze on them or try to open up a capsule and touch them with moist little fingers, so I laminated mine!
3. Match the colored Shape Aliens up with the colored toy capsule caps and put them inside. You will probably find that most of your students Kindergarten and younger will NOT be able to open them at all! Once closed, these things can be very hard to open without crushing!
Note: In this picture, I did not match the color of the alien with the color of the lid on the toy capsule. I ended up changing them around so that it would not be confusing to the child which color they were supposed to use on the recording sheet.
If the Alien in the red UFO is red, color the spaceship red on the recording sheet. If it is blue, color it blue, etc. Fun!
4. Then give your students the recording sheet. Have them look at the lid color of the capsule, and color their UFO and Shape Alien on their recording sheet that same color. I think that this could be adapted to be done many different ways! In fact, I included the free recording sheet in several different formats for you.
Click here for today’s free download! In it, you will find creatures with the nine different basic shapes for the toy capsules, and the recording sheet in four different formats, plus a variety of samples from our Shape Creatures Workbook, too! I made the UFO recording sheet in several different formats so that it could be used in a variety of ways, such as having the children write the color words inside the UFO’s, draw the shapes themselves inside of them, or even write sight words that you might choose to put inside of those toy capsules!!! If you can think of other ideas for me to do with it, I will try to find the time to change it around for you. Meanwhile, have you seen our new Colors and Shapes DVD? It’s so much fun- I LOVE the children’s artwork that it has in each video! Check out this Hexagon song. It’s a kid favorite!
Another activity that you could use these sheets for is practicing shapes uses “Wikki Stix“. Have you ever heard of them? They are so much fun! Learn more about what they are here. In this activity, kids use Wikki Stix to trace these adorable creatures and make those shapes. WIkki Stix are a great way to incorporate sensory play and kinesthetic learning into the curriculum.
Here are some other ideas for learning fun: Make Wikki Stix shapes like in the picture you see above, and then have the children make the same shapes without using the Shape Creatures tracing paper as a guide. You could also place them in sheet protectors and have the children trace the shapes with dry or wet erase markers. You could even duplicate them for shape practice coloring sheets! And of course, don’t forget that you can get the complete set of our Shape Creatures here.
Your kids will LOVE using Wikki Stix on these worksheets and practice pages… They will hardly even realize they are learning!
Okay, now it’s YOUR turn! What are some great shape activities that you love using with your little ones?
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Survival sans Michael Schenker will forever be the plight of English hard rock heavyweights UFO. Indeed, for many ardent fans, the validity of the group's existence appears to hinge on the presence of the irascible German within its ranks. But with all due respect to the incomparable mad axeman, even his formidable talents have done little to elevate UFO's performance during its reunions of the '90s and 2000s, so it's only fair that the enduring "classic" trio of vocalist Phil Mogg, bassist Pete Way, and rhythm guitarist/keyboardist Paul Raymond should be free to carry on with or without him. They do the latter on 2004's You Are Here, a steady but very workmanlike album (recorded, ironically enough, in Germany) on which the lineup is rounded out by drummer Jason Bonham and American guitarist Vinnie Moore. Opening numbers like the AC/DC-riffed "When Daylight Goes to Town," the rhythmically jumpy "Black Cold Coffee," and the cool grooving "The Wild One" all throw off intermittent sparks, but leave no real lasting thunder in their wake. In a way, they are thus true to UFO tradition by prioritizing nuance over explosiveness, but this still can't mask the fact that there's no sign of a timeless tune among them, or the remaining material, for that matter. As for Moore -- surely the man under the most scrutiny -- from a purely technical perspective he is a more than capable replacement (his long resumé truly preceding him), but his input here (most evident on the muscular "Mr. Freeze") can't improve the final, mixed outcome, either. And except for a couple of fine, quasi-ballads in "Slipping Away" and "Sympathy," and a final flash of anthemic strength in the closing "Swallow," You Are Here reveals a decidedly flat band, perhaps still shell-shocked and getting back up to speed after Schenker's latest soap opera. With that in mind, better days may well come again to these survivors, should some level of stability be allowed to set in. After all, one should never count out a class act like UFO.