Ideas, Inspiration, and Giveaways for Teachers
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25 Creative Activities and Ideas For Learning Shapes
Triangles, circles, and squares… oh, my!
Learning shapes is one of the earliest concepts we teach kids. This readies them for geometry in the years ahead, but it’s also an important skill for learning how to write and draw. We’ve rounded up our favorite activities for learning shapes, both 2-D and 3-D. They all work well in the classroom or at home.
1. Start with an anchor chart
Colorful anchor charts like these are terrific reference tools for kids learning shapes. Have kids help you come up with examples for each one.
Learn more: A Spoonful of Learning / Kindergarten Kindergarten
2. Sort items by shape
Collect items from around the classroom or house, then sort them by their shapes. This is a fun way for kids to realize that the world around them is full of circles, squares, triangles, and more.
Learn more: Busy Toddler/Shape-Sorting
3. Snack on some shapes
Everyone loves a learning activity you can eat! Some food items are already the perfect shape; for others, you’ll have to get a little creative.
Learn more: Chieu Anh Urban
4. Print with shape blocks
Grab your shape blocks and some washable paint, then stamp shapes to form a design or picture.
Learn more: Pocket of Preschool
5. Go on a shape hunt
These “magnifying glasses” make an adventure of learning shapes! Tip: Laminate them for long-term use.
Learn more: Nurture Store UK
6. Hop along a shape maze
Use sidewalk chalk to lay out a shape maze on the playground or driveway. Choose a shape and hop from one to the next, or call out a different shape for every jump!
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
7. Assemble a truck from shapes
Cut out a variety of shapes (excellent scissors skills practice!), then assemble a series of trucks and other vehicles.
Learn more: Little Family Fun
8. Stretch out shapes on geoboards
Teachers and kids love geoboards , and they’re a great tool for learning shapes. Give students example cards to follow, or ask them to figure out the method on their own.
Learn more: Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station
9. Drive on shaped roads
Use these free printable road mats to work on shapes. Bonus: Make your own road shapes from sentence strips!
Learn more: PK Preschool Mom
10. Find shapes in nature
Take your shape hunt outside and look for circles, rectangles, and more in nature. For another fun activity, gather items and use them to make shapes too.
11. Put together craft stick shapes
Add Velcro dots to the ends of wood craft sticks for quick and easy math toys. Write the names of each shape on the sticks for a self-correcting center activity.
Learn more: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary
12. Blow 3-D shape bubbles
This is a STEM activity that’s sure to fascinate everyone. Make 3-D shapes from straws and pipe cleaners, then dip them in a bubble solution to create tensile bubbles. So cool!
Learn more: Babble Dabble Do
13. Prep a shape pizza
Cover a paper plate “pizza” with lots of shape toppings, then count the number of each. Simple, but lots of fun and very effective.
Learn more: Mrs. Thompson’s Treasures
14. Construct shapes from toothpicks and Play-Doh
This is an excellent STEM challenge: how many shapes can you make using toothpicks and Play-Doh? Marshmallows work well for this activity too.
Learn more: Childhood 101
15. Outline shapes with stickers
Kids adore stickers, so they’ll enjoy filling in the outlines of the shapes they’re learning. They won’t realize it, but this gives them fine motor skills practice too!
Learn more: Busy Toddler/Sticker Shapes
16. Lace shapes
Lacing cards have long been a classic, but we really like this version that uses drinking straws. Just cut them into pieces and glue them along the edges of the cards.
Learn more: Planning Playtime
17. Make shapes with LEGO bricks
LEGO math is always a winner! This activity also makes a good STEM challenge. Can your students figure out how to make a circle from straight-sided blocks?
18. Categorize shapes by their attributes
Work on geometry terms like “sides” and “vertices” when you sort shapes using these attributes. Start by placing shapes into paper bags and asking students questions like, “The shape in this bag has 4 sides. What could it be?”
Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching
19. Count and graph shapes
These free printable worksheets challenge kids to identify shapes, then count and graph them. Lots of math skills, all in one!
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
20. Create a shape monster
Add arms, legs, and faces to create cheery (or scary) shape monsters! These make for a fun classroom display.
Learn more: Fantastic Fun and Learning
21. Sift through rice for shapes
Sure, kids can identify their shapes by sight, but what about by touch? Bury blocks in a bowl of rice or sand, then have kids dig them out and guess the shape without seeing them first.
Learn more: Fun With Mama
22. Craft an ice cream cone
Ice cream cones are made up of several shapes. Encourage kids to see how many different ways they can make a sphere of “ice cream.”
Learn more: Extremely Good Parenting
23. Ask “What does the shape say?”
If you don’t mind the risk of getting that song stuck in your kids’ heads, this is such a neat way to combine writing and math.
Learn more: Around the Kampfire
24. Piece together shape puzzles
Use wood craft sticks to make simple puzzles for kids who are learning their shapes. These are inexpensive enough that you can make full sets for each of your students.
Learn more: Toddler at Play
25. Feed a shape monster
Turn paper bags into shape-eating monsters, then let kids fill their hungry bellies!
Learn more: Teach Pre-K
From teaching shapes to long division and everything in between, these are the 25 Must-Have Elementary Classroom Math Supplies You Can Count On .
Plus, 22 Active Math Games and Activities For Kids Who Love to Move .
Jill Staake is a Contributing Editor with WeAreTeachers. She has a degree in Secondary English Education and has taught in middle and high school classrooms. She's also done training and curriculum design for a financial institution and been a science museum educator. She currently lives in Tampa, Florida where she often works on her back porch while taking frequent breaks for bird-watching and gardening.
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1st Grade Math Worksheets: Geometry
Shapes and geometry worksheets.
Our grade 1 geometry worksheets focus on identifying and drawing two dimensional shapes : squares, rectangles, circles, triangles, ovals and diamonds (rhombuses). We also cover rotating and scaling shapes and introduce 3D shapes.
Grade 1 Geometry Worksheet
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Browse all of our geometry worksheets , from the basic shapes through areas and perimeters, angles, grids and 3D shapes.
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Years 1 & 2: Geometry
This list consists of visual resources, activities and games designed to support the new curriculum programme of study in Years 1 and 2. Containing tips on using the resources and suggestions for further use it covers:
Year 1: recognise and name common 2D and 3D shapes and describe position, directions and movements, including half, quarter and three-quarter turns.
Year 2 : identify and describe the properties of 2D shapes, including the number of sides and symmetry in a vertical line, identify and describe the properties of 3D shapes, including the number of edges, vertices and faces, identify 2-D shapes on surface of 3-D shapes and compare and sort common 2-D and 2-D shapes and everyday objects.
Order and arrange combinations of mathematical objects in patterns and use mathematical vocabulary to describe position, direction and movement.
Visit the primary mathematics webpage to access all lists.
YouTube: 3D Shapes Song
Listen to a song which shows examples of spheres, cylinders, cubes and cones. This could be used at the start of a lesson on 3D shapes before asking children to find examples of the shapes from a teacher selection and then within the classroom. Children could make up their own songs for learning about other 3D shapes.
Shape and Space
Quality Assured Category: Mathematics Publisher: Teachers TV
Outdoor learning always motivates children so the shape hunt idea is perfect for Year 1 learning to recognise shapes in the outdoor environment. A shape sorting activity helps assess the children's learning of shapes and their properties.
Making shapes with elastic bands is a great way of identifying and describing 2-D shapes and can be used as a paired activity with children challenging each other to create different shapes.
The first 6 minutes of this video show how children are guided into constructing 3D shapes from 2D diagrams using drinking straws and modelling dough. This is a great way of learning about the properties of 3D shapes, including faces, edges and vertices and also a great way of assessing this learning.In the plenary, children play a game where they listen to the properties of a shape being described including the shape of the faces. Though done with a Year 3 class this idea could be adapted for Year 2.
Shape Activities for Students Aged 5-7
Quality Assured Category: Mathematics Publisher: BEAM Education
The game What's that? allows children to practise matching names to shapes.
The worksheet Shapes practises shape recognition and colours by asking children to colour in different shapes in different colours within a pattern.
Squares and circles is a worksheet which could be used to support children in recognising and drawing squares and circles. It could be extended to drawing a person from triangles.
Let's Investigate Triangles
An NRICH investigation where children discover the different shapes of triangles for themselves using coloured rods or sticks. This could be run as a whole class investigation, in small groups with adult support or as part of an enrichment task depending on when taught and the overall readiness of the class. It requires coloured construction rods but contains a printable sheet showing the rods which may be used instead.
Starting Algebra / Shape and Space
Quality Assured Category: Mathematics Publisher: Collins Educational
Sometimes you may want a different way of practising an area of mathematics or even a worksheet, game or puzzle. This book provides 40 worksheets which may be used in KS1 to practise many areas of mathematics, or to support children in KS2.
Drawing shape characters is a fun way of recognising and naming 2-D shapes It can be found on sheet 33 page 76.
In Year 2 children are asked to describe position, direction and movement.
Practise giving and following directions on sheet 32, page 73 where children learn about moving along a straight line and turning through a right angle.
Play 'Twiddles' as a way of practising turns. The activity could be adapted to include half and three quarter turns and to include turning through right angles in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction. This activity is on Sheet 34, page 77 on pdf.
Geometry in Year 1 (age 5–6)
In Year 1, your child will recognise common 2D and 3D shapes and they will be able to explain simple turns (for example, a half-turn). They will begin to use some basic geometry words, like sides and edges .
The key words for this section are 2D and 3D .
What your child will learn
Take a look at the National Curriculum expectations for geometry in Year 1 (ages 5–6):
Understand shape properties, and recognise common 2D and 3D shapes
- 2D shapes are flat shapes with two dimensions, length and width. They cannot be picked up.
- 3D shapes are solid shapes with three dimensions: length, width, and height. They can be picked up.
Your child should be able to recognise circles , triangles , rectangles , and other 2D shapes. They will know that a square is a special rectangle because all its sides and angles are equal.
Describe position, direction, and movement
How to help at home.
There are lots of everyday ways you can help your child to understand geometry. Here are just a few ideas.
1. Point out shapes around us
Point out and ask your child to name common 2D and 3D shapes. For instance, can they name any 2D shapes in the patterns on your curtains, or in the pictures in their books?
Your child should know that 2D shapes are completely flat. Many children may incorrectly say that items like coins are 2D shapes – be sure to explain that a coin is a 3D shape (a cylinder) because it has height and is a solid.
Activity: Match the shape
Find the hidden shapes in the picture.
2. Use the language of shapes
Try to use the specific mathematical language when talking about shapes. For example, there is no 2D shape called a diamond . The shape your child might think is a diamond is either a square , a rhombus , or a kite .
Try giving your child a 3D shape (for example, a cereal box) to touch and explore. Encourage them to use specific language such as straight, curved, edges, faces , and corners/vertices to describe it. For example:
The cereal box is a cuboid . It has six faces and eight corners . All of its edges are straight.
You could also try showing your child a cylinder and a cube and asking them to describe their similarities and differences. For example, while they are both 3D shapes, cylinders have two circular faces and a curved surface whereas cubes have six square faces.
3. Play ‘guess the shape’ games
You could play a game with 3D shapes and a bag that your child cannot see through:
- Hide a shape in the bag and ask your child to feel the shape.
- Ask your child to describe the shape as best they can and try to work out what it is.
- Once your child has told you what shape they think it is, take it out to see if they were correct.
This will help children to begin visualising the shapes, which is an important skill they need to develop. If you’re out and about, you can play a different version of this game. Think of a shape and prompt your child to ask you questions in order to guess the shape. You can only answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
4. Play ‘find the object’ games
Try to find everyday opportunities to use the language of position, direction, and motion. For example:
Left, right, top, middle, bottom, on top of, in front of, above, between, around, near, close and far, up, down, forwards, backwards, inside and outside .
You could play a game with your child by hiding an object around the house for them to find. Encourage them to ask questions using the language mentioned above. For example:
‘Is the object hidden inside a drawer?’ ‘If I move backwards , will I be closer to the hidden object?’
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Free Year 1 Shape 3D Shapes Maths Activity Pack
Age range: 5-7
Resource type: Worksheet/Activity
Classroom Secrets is a growing educational resource company based in Halifax. We pride ourselves in offering a wide range of exciting, engaging and high-quality resources for all early-years and primary year-groups. All of our resources are carefully created by qualified teachers, so you have more time to enjoy a #LIFEworkbalance. We offer both great value annual and month-by-month subscriptions, or you can download our resources individually on our TES shop.
13 August 2021
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This Maths Activity Pack is designed to enhance children’s understanding of 3D Shapes.
This Activity Pack contains the following resources:
Practical Activities Main Activity Worksheet with Answers Extension Worksheet with Answers
You can find more Year 1 Shape resources here .
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2D Shapes Lesson
This Year 1 2D Shapes lesson covers the prior learning of recognising 2D shapes, before moving onto the main skill of identifying 2D shapes in different sizes and orientations.
The lesson starts with a prior learning worksheet to check pupils’ understanding. The interactive lesson slides recap the prior learning before moving on to the main skill. Children can then practise further by completing the activities and can extend their learning by completing an engaging extension task.
National Curriculum Objectives Mathematics Year 1: (1G1a) Recognise and name common 2-D shapes [for example, rectangles (including squares), circles and triangles]
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Resources for teachers
Interactive activities for children
2 Teaching Support
These lesson slides guides pupils through the prior learning of recognising 2D shapes, before moving onto the main skill of 2D shapes. There are a number of questions to check pupils' understanding throughout.
This powerpoint can be used to model the questions that the children will complete on the Varied Fluency and Reasoning & Problem Solving worksheets as part of this lesson.
These are the same as the lesson slides on Classroom Secrets. You can assign this as an activity for pupils to access individually in school or remotely from home.
In this Recognising 2D Shapes Video Tutorial, Katie recaps the properties of circles, rectangles, squares and triangles before showing pupils how to recognise them on 3D household objects.
1 Prior Learning
This worksheet recaps prior learning of recognising 2D shapes, before moving onto the main skill of identifying 2D shapes in different sizes and orientations.
This Reception Identifying 2D Shapes within 3D Shapes Game will help children to make links between 2D and 3D shapes.
This Reception 2D Shapes Picture Game will help children identify 2D shapes within pictures.
This Reception 2D Shapes Recognition Game will help children to learn some of the common 2D shapes.
2 Practical Activities
These practical activities include tasks covering a range of provision areas for pupils to practise the main skill of 2D shapes.
This 2d shapes supporting activities sheet contains suggestions for additional tasks you might wish to use to support pupils' understanding of the concepts taught in the lesson.
2 Varied Fluency
This worksheet includes varied fluency questions for pupils to practise the main skill of 2D shapes.
This differentiated worksheet includes varied fluency questions for pupils to practise the main skill of this lesson.
This Year 1 2D Shapes Matching Game aims to support pupils' knowledge of shape. Children will identify 2D shapes.
2 Reasoning & Problem Solving
This differentiated worksheet includes reasoning and problem solving questions to support the teaching of this step.
This 2D shapes extension task includes a challenge activity which can be used to further pupils' understanding of the concepts taught in the 2D shapes lesson.
This worksheet includes two discussion problems which can be used in pairs or small groups to further pupils' understanding of the concepts taught in this lesson.
This Year 1 2D Shapes Maths Challenge aims to extend pupils' understanding of shape. Children will recognise and name 2D shapes.
This differentiated worksheet includes varied fluency and reasoning and problem solving questions to support the teaching of this step.
2 Additional Activities
This resource is aimed at Year 1 Expected and has been designed to give children the opportunity to consolidate the skills they have learned in Autumn Block 3 – Geometry: Shape.
Learning Video Clip
Priya and Ted are still enjoying themselves at the fairground. This time they are exploring the funhouse looking for 2D shapes.
Home Learning Pack
This Autumn week 10 Maths pack contains varied fluency, reasoning and problem solving worksheets
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1. Start with an anchor chart Colorful anchor charts like these are terrific reference tools for kids learning shapes. Have kids help you come up with examples for each one. Learn more: A Spoonful of Learning / Kindergarten Kindergarten 2. Sort items by shape Collect items from around the classroom or house, then sort them by their shapes.
Our members helped us give away millions of worksheets last year. We provide free educational materials to parents and teachers in over 100 countries. If you can, please consider purchasing a membership ($24/year) to support our efforts. Members skip ads and access exclusive features. Learn about member benefits
Outdoor learning always motivates children so the shape hunt idea is perfect for Year 1 learning to recognise shapes in the outdoor environment. A shape sorting activity helps assess the children's learning of shapes and their properties.
In Year 1, your child will recognise common 2D and 3D shapes and they will be able to explain simple turns (for example, a half-turn). They will begin to use some basic geometry words, like sides and edges. The key words for this section are 2D and 3D. What your child will learn
FREE Resource! Year 1 Geometry - Properties of Shape PlanIt Maths Steps to Progression Overview 4.7 (9 reviews) PlanIt Maths Year 2 Properties of Shape Lesson Pack 1: Recognise More 2D Shapes 5.0 (3 reviews) Year 1 Maths Same-Day Intervention Plan: Recognising 2D Shapes.
Activities and Games Year 1 Mastery - Fluency, Reasoning and Problem Solving - Shape Shape Year 1 Diving into Mastery: Step 4 Sort 2D Shapes Activity Cards Year 1 Diving into Mastery: Step 1 Recognise and Name 3D Shapes Activity Cards 5.0 (2 reviews) Year 1 Diving into Mastery: Step 3 Recognise and Name 2D Shapes Activity Cards 3.5 (2 reviews)
This Maths Activity Pack is designed to enhance children’s understanding of 3D Shapes. This Activity Pack contains the following resources: Practical Activities. Main Activity Worksheet with Answers. Extension Worksheet with Answers. You can find more Year 1 Shape resources here.
This Year 1 2D Shapes Matching Game aims to support pupils' knowledge of shape. Children will identify 2D shapes. Complete Activity on CS Kids Reasoning & Problem Solving Reasoning and Problem Solving from the old Resource Pack Subscription Worksheet