Sweet Pea is 45 months old.
- Self-adhesive foam shapes (or non-adhesive shapes and glue).
- 2 or 3 sheets of card stock or heavy paper.
- Basket or bowl to contain the shapes.
- Cut each sheet of card stock into 4 rectangles.
- Draw a line down the center of each rectangle with the Sharpie.
- Separate the foam shapes into 2 matching piles.
- Select a few of the shapes from one pile and use them to create a picture. Remove the backing and stick the shapes down on the left side of one of your paper rectangles. Remove the exact same shapes from the matching pile and place them in the basket for your tot to use later.
- Repeat with the remaining shapes and paper to make several puzzle cards with a different picture on each one.
- Show your tot the puzzle cards and the basket of foam shapes.
- Allow your tot to choose a puzzle card and inform her that you are going to examine the picture on the left and then try to recreate it on the right side of the paper.
- Say something like, “What shapes are used to make this picture? I think I need a yellow rectangle.” Invite your tot to find the correct shape in the basket. Continue looking for shapes until you have selected all of them that your tot will need to create the picture.
- Allow your tot to try to build the picture.
- Repeat with the remaining cards.
Observations: This went over better than our foam shape patterns activity. Sweet Pea did 1 of the cards right away and has chosen to work on them a few times since then. Oddly, she has only been interested in doing 1 at a time before moving on to something else. I had expected her to do them all at once.
Sweet Pea seemed to enjoy this activity, but I was surprised by how much trouble she has had with some of the puzzles. I thought these would be a little too easy for her, but I ended up wishing I would have created some simpler cards. I think the 3-dimensional aspect of the puzzle (i.e. having to stack some of the shapes on top of other ones) provided more of a challenge than I anticipated.
I really like that this activity can be changed to suit your tot’s age and ability. It is easy to put together and a good exercise in logical thinking. I would recommend it for other tots.
Notes from the Trenches: The puzzle cards can be reused if you prevent your tot from sticking the foam shapes down. Alas, Sweet Pea loves stickers so if we want to do more, I’ll have to make them.
Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Independent)