As teachers, we all know how important it is to introduce early learners to 2D shapes. These foundational shapes set the stage for understanding more complex geometric concepts in the future. But merely teaching shapes through worksheets and flash cards can quickly become dull and unengaging for young children. That’s why today, we’ll explore a variety of fun and creative 2D shape activities for kindergarten students, and first grade too, that will enhance learning experiences while keeping students actively involved. From shape recognition games to art projects and outdoor shape exploration, these activities will inspire your students to have a blast while learning about shapes.
What are the basic shapes for kindergarten?
The Common Core standards for kindergarten state the 2D shapes to introduce in kindergarten are circles, squares, triangles, rectangles, and hexagons. Many teachers also introduce pentagons, octagons, and ovals.
How do you teach 2D shapes?
A great way to teach two-dimensional shapes to little learners is to introduce and look at the different shapes of real life objects. When students can make a connection and identify shape attributes of items all around them, they are more likely to master shape identification. 2D shapes are flat and have no depth. Here are some examples of everyday objects that you can reference when teaching about shapes in your own classroom.
- Circles: cookie, plate, clock face, coin, button
- Square: sticky note, window, floor tile, napkin
- Triangle: street sign, pizza slice, Doritos, hanger, pennant flag
- Rectangle: library card, cell phone, computer paper, envelope, door
- Hexagon: white section on a soccer ball, paper snowflake, beehive cells
Provide your students with shape manipulatives to explore. Let them feel the shapes, build with them, or sort them. Let their imagination take off while they start to become familiar with their attributes.
1. Create a Shape Anchor Chart
Anchor charts or shape posters are good visual representations to have in your classroom while learning about shapes. This anchor chart is used to teach students the name of the shape, along with the number of sides or faces and the number of vertices or corners of each new shape.
Let’s dive into the list of more fun activities for teaching and practicing shape names and attributes to your kindergarten students.
Shape Recognition Games
Incorporating shape games into your lesson plans is the perfect way for learning different types of shapes.
2. Shape Scavenger Hunt
Create a list of shapes and ask your students to find objects in the classroom or school that match those shapes. A shape hunt is a fun way to promote active learning and encourage students to observe their surroundings of real-world things.
3. Shape Dominos
This fun game makes a great math center. Two students can take turns matching 2D shapes to real life objects in this hands-on game.
4. Out of Sight Pocket Chart Game
This game is great for small groups or as a whole group activity as well. This is one of those fun activities to play while you have a few minutes extra during your day. Students eagerly select cards from the pocket chart, hoping to find the surprise behind them. This fun activity is great for shape identification practice.
5. Shape Bingo
Play a bingo game using shapes instead of numbers. Give each child a bingo card with various shapes on it, and call out shapes or shape attributes instead of numbers. This game helps reinforce shape recognition skills, and it’s always a hit in the classroom. Shape bingo is a fun small group activity that parent volunteers can easily manage!
This shape bingo game is available as a free download at the end of this blog post!
Shape Sorting and Matching
Matching and sorting shapes is a hands-on activity that aids in developing problem-solving and critical thinking skills. It allows children to identify similarities and differences between shapes.
6. Shape Puzzles
7. Shape Sorting Trays
Provide bins or containers with different shapes drawn on them. Give your students various small objects or cutouts, and ask them to sort and place each object in the bin that matches its shape. This activity builds classification and visual discrimination skills.
Shape Arts and Crafts
Incorporating art and crafts into shape learning not only makes it more enjoyable but also allows children to engage in hands-on and creative activities.
8. Shape Collages
Provide your students with various colored construction paper and a basket full of shape cutouts. Ask them to create collages by arranging and gluing the shapes onto the paper. This activity promotes shape recognition and spatial awareness.
9. Shape Inspired Artwork
Introduce famous artists who incorporate shapes into their artwork, such as Piet Mondrian or Wassily Kandinsky. Then, encourage your students to create their own artwork inspired by these artists, using shapes as the central focus. This activity sparks creativity and exposes children to the visual arts.
10. Pipe Cleaner Creations
Use pipe cleaners to create shapes. Provide your students with beads to add to their shapes that represent the corners of each shape.
11. Shape Pizza
Using a paper plate or construction paper, students can make a shape pizza with different 2D shape toppings. You can also have your kindergarten friends practice counting with this activity.
12. Shape Monsters
Show your students this cute video with shape monsters and then provide different materials for students to make their own shape monsters.
Building with Shapes
Shape building and construction activities allow children to explore shapes in a tangible and hands-on way.
13. Build a Shape City or Design
Building blocks, such as wooden blocks or legos, are 3D shapes so you could use those with the addition of 2D shapes for detail and decoration. I also like using pattern blocks and shape mats or pictures for students to create various objects. This way, you can keep your focus on 2D shapes.
14. Play Dough Shapes
Using play dough to build shapes gives students fun fine motor practice. Here are some play dough mats that are great for centers, morning work, or early finisher bins.
15. Geoboard Designs
Use geoboards and rubber bands to create 2D shape designs. Draw or print out some shapes onto cards for students to use as a reference. Encourage them to create different-sized shapes, as well!
Outdoor Shape Activities
Taking learning outdoors not only provides a change of scenery but also offers unique opportunities for children to explore shapes in their environment.
16. Chalk Shape Tracing
Use sidewalk chalk to draw large shapes on the pavement, and ask your students to trace the shapes with their feet. This activity combines gross motor skills with shape recognition, and it’s an easy way to get active while learning.
17. Shape Hunt Scavenger Walk
Take your students on a walk around the school or playground, giving each child a checklist of shapes to find. Encourage them to locate and identify shapes in nature, architecture, and other objects they encounter. This activity promotes observation skills and reinforces shape recognition.
18. Shape Hopscotch
This is a great activity to include some classroom buddies from another grade. We had 2nd grade buddies and they were so much fun to include in activities like this one. Have buddies use sidewalk chalk to make a hopscotch game and then students can try out everyone else’s hopscotch creation.
Technology-Based Shape Learning
In today’s digital age, incorporating technology into your teaching can greatly enhance the learning experience.
19. 2D Shape Boom Cards
Boom cards are great interactive resources and can be used on classroom tablets, at home, or in a virtual or digital classroom. They are also great for interactive whiteboards.
20. Movement Videos
Get your students moving and grooving with these movement and learning videos. This 2D shape video has a school theme so it can be used anytime throughout the year.
Math Activities with Shapes
Shapes and mathematics go hand in hand, and incorporating math activities into shape learning helps children make connections between these two subjects.
21. Shape Patterns
Create pattern cards using different shapes (e.g., circle, square, triangle, circle). Have your students continue the pattern by identifying and placing the correct shape. This activity promotes shape recognition and pattern recognition skills.
22. Shape Graphing
Create a large graph that can be used as a whole group activity. Have different shapes cut out and give your students the opportunity to come up and place their shape in the correct column. You could sort the shapes based on the names of the shapes or you could also sort the shapes by shape attributes.
23. Matching Shape Math Center
Shape Songs and Rhymes
Music and rhymes have long been recognized as effective tools for early education. Here are a couple of videos about geometric shapes.
24. The Singing Walrus Shape Song
This one is so catchy! The video tells shape names, as well as, the number of sides, real-world examples, and opportunities for students to sky write the shapes. It covers a circle, square, rectangle and triangle.
25. Jack Hartmann - Shape Up!
Another foot-tapping good one! Get your students up and moving with this shape song.
Shape books are great to add in throughout your day. It is one more easy way to expose students to various shapes.
As this book introduces shapes, it gives several examples of each. This may be a good book to share with students over a couple of days, as it is a little longer.
How do I assess Shape Mastery?
Assessing children’s understanding of shapes is crucial to gauge their progress and identify areas where additional support may be needed. Here are a few tips for assessing shape recognition and application.
- Observation: Observe your students during shape-related activities and note their ability to recognize and describe shapes accurately.
- Conversations: Engage in conversations with your students about shapes, asking them to identify shapes in their daily lives or explain the differences between various shapes.
Incorporating fun and creative 2D shape activities in your kindergarten classroom is an excellent way to engage your students in shape learning while ensuring they have a blast. There are endless possibilities to make shape learning exciting and interactive. By embracing these activities, you’ll help your students develop a solid foundation in shape recognition, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
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