Learning about and recognising basic shapes is so much more fun and motivating when it is hands-on. Children need the opportunity to create and explore with shapes to learn what shapes look like and how to make them.
This shapes activity has been created on a large scale with a number of manipulative items, to invite children to play creatively, imaginatively, mathematically, to construct, problem solve, explore, discover and try new things, all while having fun and learning about shapes.
Leave the activity out for a few days and watch how the ideas and experimenting changes. The ideas and possibilities are endless!
What you will need?
You will need washi tape or masking tape, coloured card, scissor, blocks, small toy cars, blocks, bottle tops and jumbo foam shapes.
There are so many other objects you can add to this hands-on playing with shapes opportunity such as buttons, pop sticks and pipe cleaners.
Let’s Play – Rectangles
- Place colourful bottle top lids only the lines of the rectangle.
- Once the rectangle has been made, stack and place more bottle lids on top of the current line.
- Make patterns with the different colours along the lines.
- Make each line only one colours, such as one line with only red bottle lids, blue, green and yellow.
- Talk about the attributes of the rectangle shape. It has two long sides and two short sides (lengths) and it has 4 corners.
- Go on a treasure hunt around the house, classroom or other environment searching for real-life objects that rectangular in shape.
- Read stories about shapes or rectangles. Try: Shapes: Rectangles by Esther Sarfatti
Let’s Play – Squares
- Drive the toy cars around the outside of the square shape. If you like, you can add dashes of lines to resemble that of a road onto washi tape.
- Place one car on each length of the square and count how many cars – how many sides.
- We later added some jumbo square foam shapes to the square shape, filling the space into the square.
- Children can add other manipulates to the square such as blocks and drive the toy cars only the ‘block roads’.
- Talk about the attributes of the square shape. It has 4 sides (lengths) that are all the same size and 4 corners.
- Go on a treasure hunt around the house, classroom or another environment searching for real-life objects that square in shape.
- Read stories about shapes or squares. Try: Perfect Square by Michael Hall
Let’s Play – Triangle
- Build a triangle using blocks by placing the blocks along the washi tape lengths.
- Talk about the attributes of the triangle shape. It has 3 sides and 3 corners.
- Go on a treasure hunt around the house, classroom or other environment searching for real-life objects that triangle in shape.
- Read stories about shapes or triangles. Try: The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
Let’s Play – Circles
- Cut out the coloured card into the shape of a large circle. ‘We wrote can you make a circle?’
- Place the jumbo foam shapes (circles only) around the outside of the circle shape. Children need to search and sort the circle foam shapes amongst the other shapes. An alternative to jumbo foam shapes, you could use buttons, pompoms or round tokens.
- Talk about the attributes of the circle shape. It has no straight sides and is one continuous line. There are no corners.
- Go on a treasure hunt around the house, classroom or other environment searching for real-life objects that are circle in shape.
- Read stories about shapes or circles. Try: I see Circles by D H Dilkes
- Creativity and imaginative play
- Fine Motor Development
- Hand-Eye Coordination and Control
- Spatial awareness – experimenting and exploring with shape and space
- Language development – shape names and communication
- Classifying, matching and sorting
- Problem solving and self-correcting
- Shape recognition
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