Plan lessons to reinforce known shapes and introduce new ones to your kindergarten pupils. Use a variety of hands-on activities to teach them the names of shapes and to discuss their characteristics, such as numbers of corners and sides. Make your shape unit enjoyable and filled with valuable learning opportunities.
Provide pupils with small marshmallows and toothpicks. Have them stick the toothpicks into the marshmallows and arrange them to create shapes like triangles, squares and rectangles. Have the children form small balls out of clay and stick straws into the clay to create shapes. Pupils can also make shapes using geoboards. Provide each pupil with a geoboard and an elastic band. Have them make squares with their elastics then move on to other shapes. Introduce vocabulary such as "corners" and "sides."
Create Bingo cards using card stock or purchase ready-made Bingo cards. Draw various shapes on the cards and distribute to pupils. Call out the names of shapes and have pupils cover the shapes on their cards with counters or pennies. The first pupil to cover all his shapes wins.
Play a game of I Spy. Have pupils take turns completing the sentence starter, "I spy with my little eye, something in the shape of a..." The pupil who guesses the object that is being described chooses the next item.
Arts and Crafts
Show pupils how to make a shape train. Have them cut out a triangle, square, rectangle and three circles from construction paper. Instruct them to glue the circles to the bottoms of the triangle, square and rectangle to make wheels. Have them attach the triangle, square and rectangle in an order of their choice to make a train.
Ask pupils to cut out large circles from construction paper. Have them make a collage by gluing circular items to their papers such as buttons, pennies and stickers.
Songs and Chants
Teach pupils songs and chants to learn about shapes. Do You Know This Shape? (sung to the tune of "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes")
Do you know what shape this is? What shape this is? What shape this is? Do you know what shape this is, I'm holding in my hand? (Hold up a shape and have pupils call out its name.)
Shape Family Chant
I am baby triangle, three sides have I. I am mama circle, round like a pie. I am papa square, my sides are four. I am uncle rectangle, shaped like a door.
About the Author
Mother of two, Erin Agnello writes about parenting, relationships, and education. She has been teaching since 2001 and works in special education and early literacy. Agnello holds a B.A. in psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a B.Ed. from Windsor University.
Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images