Hi guys! Sue here, with an idea to integrate some math concepts into early childhood education. We recently tried this out in my pre-Kindergarten art studio, and the kids were just as engaged as I had hoped!
Ellison Superstar Machine
Rolls of translucent contact paper in various neon colors (I think they came from a back-to-school sale, and were intended to be book covers. I had other plans!)
I also found these great tangram block sets at Target in the dollar section. I wasn’t sure if my students were ready for them at the time, but at a dollar each?! You know how it goes: I have four sets now.
I was so stoked when the Tangram Die came back in stock - I love the “timeless art” of tangram, and I figured I’d be able to get some of my students interested in it as well. I used my die cut machine to cut a full set in orange, green, blue, pink, and magenta.
We started art class by learning some new vocabulary (“tangram”, obviously!), then looked at some tangram representations of people from a book. The kids took turns describing, then acting out the different poses of our tangram friends! I was surprised and pleased to see how accurately they identified and interpreted the (somewhat abstract) shapes. Especially the ones that looked like breakdancing moves.
I introduced the kids to a new(!) temporary center: the Tangram Table. There I had laid out most of our materials - the block sets, the book, the window stickers (with the backing still on), and lots of paper tangram shapes I had die cut from construction paper. Instead of a formulaic plan, I encouraged open exploration of the materials.
I found that some kids were content to dump out a puzzle from the tray then try to reassemble it by following a guide I made from paper.
Others were really excited to tackle the problem of peeling the backing from the window stickers and arranging the stickers on the window. I loved how they look with a little light shining through them!