Get in Shape is a fun way to learn shapes that is not only developmentally appropriate but is aligned with early learning standards for preschool. All you need is rope and some eager learners! We use 7’ handleless jump ropes from www.USGames.com. I like these nylon braided ropes because of their bright colors and they are the perfect size for young children to manipulate. During this activity, children are encouraged to make a shape with their rope on the ground. When everyone had manipulated their ropes to make a shape, children share what shape they made. The adult leader can encourage children to share what shape they made, compare and contrast how many circles where made, who made squares, what shapes were the same, and what shapes were different. As children improve in identifying shapes, the adult leader can describe a shape for the students to create (e.g., create a shape with 4 equal sides [a square]). Why learn shapes? Because prior to understanding numbers and letters, children must recognize their shapes! Everyone uses shapes to identify and organize visual information. Shapes are symbols and early recognition of shapes help children recognize alphabet letters. Distinguishing between a square and a circle help young children see the differences in the shapes of different letters. Decoding shapes and letters is an essential foundation for writing and reading. Visit www.openphysed.org for this (and many other) free resources.