Teaching about 3-Dimensional (3D) Shapes for Kindergarten involves hands-on exploring, explicit teaching, and linking 3D shapes to our real world. With these three things, your students will have fun and learn a lot about 3D shapes! You can get all these 3D shape activities for kindergarten (and more!) from my shape unit!
2D and 3D Shapes in Kindergarten
Hands-on exploring of 3D shapes in kindergarten
Before doing any explicit teaching, children need time to explore. Always. I always start the unit by having 3D shape models available to observe, feel, sort, and explore. I have my students sort the shapes into whatever categories they can think of. After some time, they usually sort the shapes into shapes that can roll or shapes that can stack or shapes with square faces, triangle faces, (without knowing the term “face”) etc.
Other ways I love my students to explore with shapes is by building the shapes with playdough (or clay) and toothpicks! The students can create solid shapes or use the toothpicks to create the edges and vertices of the shapes! They use pictures of the shapes to get ideas for what to create. They learn so much from this hands-on exploration! Now they are ready for some explicit teaching.
Explicit teaching of 3D shapes for kindergarten
Once students have a chance to explore with shapes, they are ready to learn some vocabulary and geometry information. In order to better describe the shapes they are exploring, they will need to know the names of the shapes and the following geometry terms: “face,” “edge,” and “vertice”. I like to use this FREE powerpoint to help explain these topics and then I reinforce it with this emergent reader! Talking about faces also helps to connect their learning from 2D shapes to 3D shapes. There are some fun youtube songs to help with this like Harry Kindergarten and Jack Hartmann.
Linking to our real world
After much hands on exploring with 3D shapes in kindergarten and learning the shape names and technical terms, children are ready to connect their learning to the world around them. We want them to be able to see that our world is made of 3D shapes! I like to use shape hunts and these shape matching cards to help them to see these connections!
Together with hands-on exploration, explicit teaching, and linking shapes to the real world, your students will become experts on 3D shapes in kindergarten! If you like these 3D shapes activities for kindergarten, share them on social media and tag me!