Circle, square, triangle … even oval and rectangle. Those aren’t so hard, but what about trapezoid, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, nonagon and decagon? All of these are 2-D shapes kids need to be able to name, identify and describe. You can have fun when you teach shapes with these activities that are adaptable for introducing, practicing, or reviewing shapes.
3 activities to teach shapes
Spot a shape
Point out one or two shapes in the classroom and describe it. Example: The clock is a circle. It has zero corners and is round.
Point out another object, such as the door. Ask: What shape is the door? Once students identify it as a rectangle, ask if they can describe a rectangle. They should identify these characteristics: 4 straight sides, 4 corners, 2 long sides that are parallel and 2 short sides that are parallel.
Ask students to point out another object with a recognizable shape. Objects they might see are papers, desks, and flags that are rectangles, an oval mat, a square on the calendar, a trapezoid table. When students point out a shape, ask them to describe the shape. If students can’t describe the shape, review the description of the shape.
To use this activity for home practice, you can provide a tracking sheet with the names and/or pictures of the shape. Have students describe where they find each shape.
Make a shape
Give students a whiteboard and 10 toothpicks.
- Ask them to make a shape using some or all of the toothpicks as long as the shape is closed. Note that each toothpick can be a side or they can put toothpicks end to end to make a longer line.
- Get them to draw on their whiteboard each of the shapes they make.
If you are introducing shapes, use student examples to name different shapes and describe them. If you have been working with shapes already, ask students to write the name of their shape.
Have students create pictures using cut outs of different shapes. Encourage students to use each of these shapes at least once:
Have students write a brief description of their picture explaining how they used each shape. For example, the house is a rectangle, and the roof is a triangle. Alternately, they can label the shapes they used.
If you want another fun way to teach shapes and give kids plenty of practice, try shape bingo. Your students will need to match shapes given easy or hard clues. I’ve created the 2D Shape Bingo and Poster Pack to make it easy. You get:
- 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
- 2 different types of shape clues (simple and advanced).
Together the posters and bingo game make teaching shapes a breeze.
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