Discover Shapes in Many Places
Young children love to find shapes all around them. Understanding shapes is an important mathematical skill for young children to develop. Here are some ways you can help your child learn about shapes and to talk about and work with them in meaningful ways.
- Point out familiar shapes
Talk about common two-dimensional shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles and three-dimensional shapes such as balls, cubes, and cones. Name the shapes children often see in nature, their home, and around their neighborhood.
- Explore new dimensions
Introduce words for three-dimensional shapes. Talk about how a can has a round flat circle on top but the whole shape is called a cylinder. Show children one side of a block that has the shape of a square and explain that the whole shape is called a cube.
- Expand their vocabulary about shapes
Use words that help children describe shapes accurately. Some words to include are side, solid, surface, point, straight, curve, inside, flat, top, and angle.
- Explore the concept of shapes
Playing board games, participating in sports, building with blocks, and creating with recycled materials are all opportunities for children to problem solve with and talk about shapes.
Related IEL Resources
- Tip Sheet: Path to Math: Classification
- Tip Sheet: Path to Math: Geometric Thinking for Young Children
About this resource
- Preschool Program
- Parents / Family
- Teachers / Service providers
Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
- Preschoolers (Age 3 Through Age 5)
Related Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards: