This idea was an extension on recent block puzzle play with Veronika. But this time, she had to puzzle out two variables at once: color and shape.
To start, I laid down a sheet of butcher paper and began to trace some of her soft foam blocks, making sure to use a corresponding crayon color for every block color.
She immediately was naming shapes and colors as I worked and wanted to trace (i.e. scribble) alongside me! In retrospect, I would set this up while she was napping for a cleaner piece of paper.
But eventually, I had enough shapes traced for the real puzzling to begin. It was neat to see her mind work through this activity. She immediately put a red triangle in place when I pointed out the red outline.
Rectangles threw her off since we had both short ones and long ones, and she tended to either mix up the two or orient her rectangles in the wrong direction.
Often, she proudly laid down a shape in the right outline (e.g. square in square), without any regard for the color.
And all of that was perfectly fine! I loved that this was a challenge for her, and how gamely she rose to it.
The activity also lends itself perfectly to extended play. Once all those shapes were in place, we could start connecting them like bridges into ever-bigger structures and towers.
Without any prompting, she trotted away and then brought back a toy car. Now we had tunnels for cars to go through or garages to park them in!
We eventually re-positioned the blocks into one long road for her to drive cars down, which she loved.
She played solo so happily and I caught her driving cars up one side of a triangle block and down the other, almost like it was a mini mountain.
And through all of this, she kept up the narrative of shapes and colors to herself. This activity was a true joy.