If you have a child in the early years of schooling or home schooling, or even kindergarten, they have probably been learning to identify 2D and 3D shapes, as part of their maths work. Shapes lend themselves to lots of fun activities you can easily incorporate into craft at home, even travel activities. We include plenty of shape-work in our Brilliant Box maths activities and thought we’d give you a few more ideas for things you can do with your kids at home, to help reinforce their learning.
These activities are suitable for a range of ages – just pick the ones that you think your kids will enjoy the most. For younger kids, it might be enough to identify and name each shape. Once they’ve mastered this, ask them how many sides, faces or corners each shape has.
Rule up a ‘Spotto’ table on a piece of paper and list (or draw, if you child is not yet reading) the shapes you’d like your child to ‘spot’ when you’re out and about. Have your child take this, with a pencil when you’re out for a walk – ask them to tick off or colour in each shape they see. So, for example, a front door could be a rectangle, a roundabout might be a circle, a drainpipe could be a cylinder. Get talking about it, and then your child will start seeing shapes everywhere!
Once a week, for a month, nominate a ‘shape dinner’. Ask your child/ren to pick a particular shape to be the theme of that dinner, then ask them to come up with food/meals/ingredients in that shape. For example, it might be ‘spheres’ (circles for younger kids), and they might decide on meatballs followed by sweet dumplings or yum balls.
We have quite a few ‘shape packs’ in our Brilliant Boxes, with everything your child needs to create shape pizzas or shape robots, plus many others. You could provide your child with coloured paper, onto which you have drawn a series of different 2D shapes: circles, triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, octagons, stars, hearts . . .any they’d like to practise. Try to have different sizes of each shape. Then, provide a large piece of white paper or card, scissors and a glue stick and ask them to cut out their chosen shapes to create a ‘shape picture’. When they’ve finished, ask them to tell you or to write out: which shapes they chose and how many of each shape they used.
Print the outline of different shapes onto pieces of A4 paper – start with 12 different ones, to see how you go. Have your children colour them in, then blu-tak them to the floor in a grid. Then, either create your own paper plate spinner or simply write a list of instructions such as: ‘right hand on the circle’, ‘left foot on the rectangle’, etc, and place them in a bag, to be lucky-dipped and called out by the ‘caller’. Just make sure the instructions cover every shape you have printed. Hilarity will ensue! This is actually a very funny game when the grown-ups decide to play it after the kids go to bed!
Make a list of 3D shapes and provide your kids with a pile of marshmallows and either icy pole sticks or (for older kids, who are less likely to hurt themselves) toothpicks/skewers. Challenge them to recreate the shapes, using the marshmallows as ‘joiners’. Then, ask them to draw the shapes they have made and count the toothpick edges and marshmallow vertices for each one. This is a great hands-on, visual way to understand 3D shapes – it can be tricky to understand all of the different faces until you see the shape in front of you.
We hope this gives your family a few hours of shape fun! Be brilliant!
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