This is a super fun preschool activity that will help your children learn about shapes using paper plates and yarn. You can add a bit of painting to the activity if you want to too! It basically rolls everything that a preschooler loves.
This activity has been on my ‘to do’ list for a long time and Possum (aged 4 years) loved it as much as I knew she would. For some reason we absolutely love doing paper plate activities and this one that focuses children on various shapes and their properties or features is an absolute winner. Throughout the process we were also working on fine motor skills and learning basic sewing techniques.
Recommended age: 3 years +
(Active supervision is required on all my activities)
Learn about shapes using paper plates and yarn
This activity is flexible enough that you can do it in stages, which is perfect if your child doesn’t have a very really long attention span. To do this activity you will need –
- Paper plates
- Paint (optional)
Possum loves painting so we did this optional first step and painted each of our paper plates a different colour. I had these vibrant neon paints on hand. Painting with children is a great way to talk about colours and make connections with them to what else they know.
Once they are dry, draw various shapes on each of the paper plates. Of course if your child is familiar with basic shapes and their properties you can extend this activity to include more complicated shapes, such as rhombus or dodecahedron.
Remember, however, just because your child can identify a basic shape doesn’t necessarily mean they know or can describe their properties so don’t hesitate to start with basic and familiar shapes.
Possum had a great time simply playing with these paper plates. She hung them up, she put them in order of her favourite colour, favourite shape and used the cut out space as a stencil. It was wonderful to see her create her own ideas of playing with these paper plate shapes.
Next comes the opportunity for children to wrap the paper plate with coloured yarn. Simply tying the end of the yarn securely around the paper plate your child can begin to pass the yarn through the shape and wrap it around the shape frame.
I highly recommend not giving your child to large a ball of yarn as it can make it difficult to pass through the paper plate. I wrapped about 2 meters of yarn around a card so that it was easy to hold and pass through and around the paper plate.
Learning about shapes and their properties
Wrapping the yarn around the paper plate was really interesting because the strands of yarn seemed to naturally fall into the points and properties of each shape. Together, Possum and talked about what shapes have edges, which do not, which shape have points and what shape had the most to the least!
I think they are absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and really highlight the features of each shape.
Learn about shapes using paper plates and yarn is such a wonderful approach and one that children, especially preschoolers, would love. This activity teach children about colours, shapes and their properties. The wrapping of the shape frames also encourages children to learn basic sewing techniques and develop their fine motor skills.
Do you think your child would enjoy this activity?
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Joanne Townshend says
HI Kate, a really great activity. The shapes looking stunning with paint and yarn. I would leave out the star and heart shapes and concentrate on the four basic shapes ie circle, square, rectangle and triangle, when doing this activity with my grandson who has just turned three. I would definitely introduce the others a bit later. What do you think about this? Thanks again. when I was still teaching in a school I used to draw huge basic shapes on newspaper, let the kids paint them and cut them out and then I would staple them into a shape-book. I would love more ideas from you and thanks again for all your marvellous activities.
Thank you so much for your comments lovely Joanne. I agree it’s best to start off slow when it comes to children learning about shapes. Oh WOW, I absolutely love your shape book idea. I’ll have to remember that one. Such a great resource for kids to enjoy and refer to throughout the year. Love it. 🙂
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Oh I adore this idea Kate! I love the concept of looking at the negative space of shapes. And they did turn out looking wonderful!
Thanks Danya! They turned out so well. We hope to make more.
Great way of making the wool manageable. These are very sweet, I can see why preschoolers would enjoy them 🙂
Thanks Kelly! 🙂
I love the look of concentration on your gorgeous girl’s face!
What a fun idea!
She took it all very seriously Kate. LOL
What a lovely craft 🙂
Thanks Chelsea. It was so much fun and they look lovely displayed.
What a pretty result! We love incorporating yarn into crafts too.
Thank you Kate. Yarn is gorgeous to use and I always think I should use it more after doing an activity like this.