How-To

Activity: Exploring Shapes

Activity: Exploring Shapes

A child’s first introduction to geometry is typically through learning about different shapes — identifying them, exploring the characteristics of various shapes, and matching like shapes, for example.

On that foundation we begin learning about sides and angles, patterns, perimeter, area…and eventually Euclid!

Here are suggestions for exploring simple shapes: circles, squares, triangles, and more. You’ll also find suggestions for older students.

 

Suggestions (in order of increasing complexity)
  • Create a shape chart with a circle, square, triangle, rectangle, and oval at the top. Go on a nature walk and have your child record in the correct column objects in nature that have those shapes.
  • Have a shape scavenger hunt using items around the house.
  • Sort all different sizes of shapes according to type.
  • Use clay to create various shapes.
  • Count the number of sides various shapes have.
  • Use popsickle sticks to create common shapes.
  • Make a shape booklet with a page for each shape.
  • Learn the names for common shapes of more than four sides (pentagon, hexagon, octagon).
  • Learn the three-dimensional counterpart to common shapes (sphere, cube, pyramid).
  • Make a shape collage. What does the final product look like?
  • Older students can identify the next shape in a pattern.
  • Even older students can calculate area and perimeter of various shapes.

 

Additional Resources

Shapes
Interactive at KidzClub.com that explains how to identify simple shapes.

 

Activities

I Love Shapes
Curious George interactive at PBS.

GeoboardActivity: Explore Shapes
This version has a simple square-shaped grid on the back and an isometric grid pattern on the other side to fit a variety of ages and stages.

Identify Shapes
A series of interactives at MathGames.com.

Constructing Your Own Set of Tangrams
And learn more about shapes along the way.

Activity: Exploring ShapesTangoes
One of our favorite shape games.

Tangrams
An online version.

Learning Circles
How-to-draw circles worksheet. There is also one for squares, rectangles, triangles, and ovals.

Shapes Sudoku
Game from DLTK with printable templates.

Exploring Shape Classification
Interactive for older students.

Interactive Shape Explorer
Older students calculate area and perimeter with this Lerner interactive.

 

Books

Bear in a Square by Stella BlackstoneActivity: Explore Shapes
Fun introduction to shapes.

Activity: Exploring ShapesI Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
I spy with my little eye…shapes!

 

Lesson Plans & Unit Studies

Exploring Shapes
Great lesson plan from Mensa For Kids.

Geometry Shapes
Interactive lesson from Khan Academy.

The Four-Square Quilt
A lesson plan covering the different types of triangles.

 

Notebooking Pages & Printables

Shape House
Free printable where students identify the shapes.

Shapes Worksheets
Free downloads from JumpStart.

Classifying and Sorting Shapes
Worksheet at EduPlace.

Classifying and Sorting Shapes
Another worksheet at EduPlace.