Children learn about shapes like circles, squares, and triangles as early as pre-school. Shapes are important because they are represented in the word around us. It gives us a way to organize information visually and make connections between shapes and our environment. For example, the cookie is a circle, and the slice of watermelon is a triangle. Shapes can also be important for children to learn about signs such as the stop sign is an octagon and a traffic signal is made of up 3 circles.
As children get older, the concepts that they learn about shapes will become more difficult and include learning about vertices, edges, faces, along with calculating area and volume. Two dimensional (2D) and three dimensional (3D) shapes are also introduced. There are many hands-on approaches to help your child learn and practice their shape skills at home.
My Very First Book of Shapes
One activity for younger children would be to read the book My Very First Book of Shapes by Eric Carl. This will give them an introduction to the various shapes. They could use play dough or cookie dough along with cookie cutters to cut out different shapes together. You can then discuss the different parts of the shape, items in your life that are those shapes, or even use those shapes to build different structures. For example, a house could be made out of four squares and four triangles.
Build Different Shapes with Craft Sticks
Older children can use craft sticks to build different shapes. They can then identified the type of shape and calculate the number of vertices, edges, and faces. After building the different shapes, they can turn it into a kit by color the sticks and labeling them. For example, coloring four sticks red and labeling it a square and adding Velcro stickers to the vertices could be put into a plastic bag. You could then save your kit in a storage box to then play and learn again another day.
What types of activities do you do at home to practice learning shapes?