The perfect square in preschool

The perfect square in preschool

We recently read the book, “Perfect Square” by Michael Hall and then extended the book by exploring our own perfect squares….

“Perfect Square” is about a square that gets torn or cut and then rearranged into different shapes. Each day of the week, the square has a new experience and becomes a new shape. Lots of descriptive words are used like shattered, torn, cut, and crumpled…

After reading the book aloud to the children, I invited each child to choose their own perfect paper square to tear with their hands and then arrange and glue into a new shape…

For many of our students, tearing construction paper into long strips (like the square in our book) was quite challenging. Because we are only in our second week of school, this was our first experience working with tearing paper so it took a little problem solving and fine motor work to figure out how to position their hands to pull the paper apart in order to get their squares to easily tear into strips…

For another time, we will visit this book again and then use scissors or other tools to change our perfect squares but for today, I wanted the children just to explore the process of tearing their paper…

The children then rearranged their torn pieces of paper on their paper and glued them in place. We now had lots of new shapes made from what started out as perfect squares…

This book was a great tool for introducing the tearing, gluing, and creative process…

Some children chose to identify what they made with their newly organized square like this one – she made a cake with a candle…

Others just focused on the process…

Which often led to a unexpected results once the glue was added…

But every child explored the process of tearing and gluing their perfect squares which was perfect!

Oh, and today we invited the children to write their own names on their paper. Many of the children cannot actually write their own name yet and others are already well on their way.  But as each child begins to get in the habit of writing his or her own name on their artwork, or “Making their Mark,” soon their name will begin to take shape but for now, any mark they make is just perfect!

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Available on Amazon


Links to Grow On

Shapes on the Sticky Table by The Seeds Network

Taped Shapes on the Table by Teach Preschool

Geotrees by Nurturing Young Minds


  • Vicky Posted September 9, 2012 11:11 am

    What a wonderful extension on the book and as I bonus they were working those finger muscles. Another great activity! Pinning it to my fine motor board.

  • Megan @ CoffeeCupsandCrayons Posted September 9, 2012 12:02 pm

    Great book! Great activity! And I love seeing how everyone’s turned out!

  • Laura (The SEEDS Network) Posted September 10, 2012 7:16 am

    I just recently saw that book at the library and I’ve been meaning to do an activity with it (now I have one!). Thanks for sharing our sticky table idea … I was thinking we could do your torn paper square activity, but have them each stick their pieces onto clear contact paper! 🙂

  • Tara H Posted September 11, 2012 11:26 pm

    I love all the great ideas on your blog!
    I have a question for you. I noticed the way the little girl in the last picture is holding her marker. My 3 (almost 4) year old holds his the same way. I have 4 more boys, but I’ve never had one that did that. Could it be a problem, and do you have any ideas to help them with it?
    The latest post on my blog has a picture of my son holding his marker the same way.
    Again thanks for all that you share here on your blog!

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted September 12, 2012 5:16 pm

    It is not all that unusual for young children to hold the pencil or marker in this grip – the development of fine motor strength and control is still in the process. For the little one in my photo who is age three – I believe she will begin the process of self-correction as she continues to use her fine motor skills and when ready, we will give her tips on how to hold the pencil or marker but first, I want to be sure she is confident and has the strength needed to comfortably hold the correct grip. That is my personal opinion:)

  • Tara H Posted September 12, 2012 5:34 pm

    Thanks! It’s good to know not to worry about it.

  • Michele Speck Posted October 8, 2012 1:50 am

    Hi Deborah
    I was so excited when in Sydney(Australia) I found this book. When I see the recommended books I am unable to purchase through Amazon as I am in Australia. So I was very happy to find the Perfect Square.
    Thanks for your wonderful site.

    Regards Michele

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted October 8, 2012 2:17 am

    Yay!! I am so glad you found it too! That is “perfect” 🙂

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