Deborah at Teach Preschool is totally great! I wish she lived near me so I could send my little ones off to her! Every day she sends out posts that are full of great learning ideas for the Preschool set. I've found that my Kinder guy also enjoys some of the activities from her site.
So check out her original post for the Shape Robots here.
Here are some of my notes on the lesson:
- This project is great for Preschool and Kinder-aged kiddos. Both boys and girls enjoyed creating their robots.
- This project tied in nicely with what my son was learning at this time: 2D versus 3D shapes and had a bunch of different shapes for them to use, identify and talk about while they were working.
- This project has some very interesting kinetic-learning opportunities. The shapes are secured by poking bits of pipe cleaner through the shapes and into the foam. The kids loved doing that and really enjoyed that the legs and arms could move once they were secured with the pipe cleaner "bolts."
- The featured book, "The Robot Book," by Heather Brown was a bit hard to find locally since it currently out of print but it is being rereleased in June. I ordered it from Amazon and it has become a favorite in our house. It talks about the parts of a robot, but it is ultimately what's inside the robot (it's heart) that counts. You could get along without the book, I guess. But I was glad to have it. It is a board book with moving parts which tied in perfectly to our robots.
- I was able to buy the craft foam sheets for the shapes at Michael's and just spent a few minutes cutting random shapes out of the foam: big rectangles, little rectangles, squares, half circles, and triangles. I also had peel and stick hearts and stars available, too. Maybe having circles would be nice, but I didn't have any and I wasn't going to cut them!
- I bought the 1/2" thick styrofoam sheets at the dollar store in the floral section. They were 12" square and I was able to get three 5" x 7" rectangles from them and then I used the scraps to piece together another one (so I got four 5" x 7" styrofoam pieces from one 12" x 12" styrofoam piece). I hot glued the styrofoam rectangles to an 8 x 10" piece of mat board.
- The only thing we used glue for were the googly eyes.
- I encouraged the children to add details (button, switches, patterns, lines) with a Sharpie. They were more than happy to do so!
- I worked with about 6 children at a time and at the other "stations" or centers they could play with gears (like Deborah suggested) or play Robot Bingo which I picked up at the dollar store (score!!).