# How To Teach Shapes With Simple Games

Whether you are teaching length, area, time, or calendar skills, measurement games should be part of your math teaching toolkit.

Circle, oval, square, rectangle, triangle, trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon, heptagon, octagon, nonagon, decagon … are you teaching shapes? Students need to be able to recognize and name these 2-D shapes and define the characteristics of each shape. There are so many games you can play to help students learn their shapes and many of them are quite simple.

## Teach shapes with games

Many traditional games, including I spy, go fish, dominos, concentration (matching), and bingo, can be adapted to teach shapes. Many children know these games already which makes teaching the game rules easier and students can focus on the skill you are teaching rather than learning the game. Let’s take a look.

### I spy shapes

Look around the room. Say, “I spy with my little eye, a rectangle.” Have students try to find the rectangle you are thinking of. Even if they find the “wrong” one, they are seeking out the shape. If students guess something that isn’t a rectangle, pause and talk about why that thing isn’t a rectangle and what shape it is. Choose another shape and try again.

### Dominos

Shape dominos give students the chance to match up images of shapes with the shape name (or depending on how the dominos are constructed with a description of the shape). Shape dominos are a great resource to have in your math center when you teach shapes. They’re perfect for pairs or small groups, but students can also play with them on their own.

### Concentration

If you have printed domino cards, you have the start of a matching game as well. Just cut your dominos in half, so that each card has a picture or name or description on it. Mix up the cards and lay them out face down. Have students take turns flipping over two cards. If the picture and words go together, the student takes the pair. If not, they flip the cards face down again and the next student takes a turn. Play continues until all the cards are matched up.

### Bingo

Bingo is a great game for the whole class or small groups. Each student needs a bingo card and a way to mark it. You can use bingo counters or a dry erase marker on a laminated bingo card.

For the simplest version, call out a shape name and have students mark off the shape. To make it more challenging, read clues about the shape. You can use simple or advanced clues to adjust the difficulty for your class or to assess at different points (for example, easier clues as you introduce the shapes and harder ones at the end of a shape unit).

While bingo is a game for a group, you can use bingo cards for individual practice at home or in class. Give students a bingo card with pictures of shapes. Have them find each shape in the classroom or at home and write on the card what they found. For example, on the rectangle space, they could write door or flag. Some shapes are harder to find so you may want to give students “must find” shapes and challenge shapes.

## Done for you resources to teach shapes

Students need repeated practice. One of the great things about these games is students can play them again and again for additional practice. If you’re looking for games to teach shapes, you might like my shape bingo set.

2D Shape Bingo and Poster Pack includes:

• 12 2D shape posters that introduce the shapes and their descriptions in informal language and give suggestions on where the shape is often seen;
• 30 different bingo cards; and
• 2 different types of shape clues (simple and advanced).

Once you purchase, you can download the posters and bingo games right away. Then print them, laminate if you like, and you are ready to go.

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