Are you teaching your kids the names of the 3D shapes? The names of these volume shapes can be hard for the kids to remember because they are truly academic vocabulary. Although kids may hear and use the words cube and cone, the words sphere and cylinder are probably not in their everyday vocabulary! So finding ways for them to remember the words and getting kids to use them is the key.
So here is a little game that I used to play every year with my Kindergartners, and they LOVED it! It’s very simple, and the directions are below!
Miss Heidi’s 3D Shapes Game
Preparation: Before playing, you’ll need to teach the kids the songs for the 3D shapes so that they know them pretty well. The songs for the cube, cone, and sphere are on Musical Math Volume One, and the Cylinder Song is on Musical Math Volume Two. (I’m sorry! I originally did not write a cylinder song because my district didn’t require it in Kindergarten, but I added it in later.)
1. Sing the songs for the 3D shapes. I suggest you start with the Cylinder song, since it is the only one on a separate DVD. Here’s the Sphere song from Musical Math Vol. 1 to give you an example!
2. In between every song, pause the DVD and ask all of the children to tell you which shape it is.
3. Before showing the next song, toss a REAL shape (like a foam shape) to a child in your room and ask them to identify it. So if you just sang the Cylinder song, throw a child a cylinder. If you sang the Sphere song, throw them a sphere, etc. Note: It will probably be easier for your kids if you call a name before you throw the shape so that they know who is supposed to catch it! Otherwise, some groups may tackle each other!
4. Repeat this routine until you have sung all four songs. Then have the children sit down, and begin throwing out some volume shapes for them to catch so that the rest of the children will each get a chance to catch a shape and identify it.
5. If you are very brave (or have a nice, cooperative class!) you may wish to let them throw the shapes to each other and let them practice identifying them that way. But that’s YOUR call! LOL!
Here’s a little video of what this game looked like many years ago in my Kindergarten class. These children are now in high school, can you believe it? This was also filmed before I had the Cylinder song, so it’s not in there.
More Ideas to Teach the Volume Shapes
1. Build the shapes with craft sticks and clay! This is an AWESOME way to help kids understand exactly how many sides each shape needs, and older children can begin to start counting the faces and vertices (corners) too!
2. Make the shapes with PLAY DOUGH! My kids LOVED this, and it’s such a fun thing to do at the end of the year! It was a great stress reliever for my first and second graders after testing year end testing. (How sad is THAT?) 🙁
3. Let them just BUILD AND PLAY with the volume shapes. Then as they are working, just ask them to tell you the names of the shapes. If your kids are like mine, as they need to share the shapes, they will start asking for them by name.
4. Have them create shapes in Google Classroom using Sheets! I did this with my first and second graders last year, and it REALLY helped them see that a square had to have EXACTLY the same number of boxes on each side to be a square, etc. It was an excellent exercise!
I hope some of these ideas work for you, too!! BTW, are you on Pinterest?? Here’s my Shapes Pinterest board for some more ideas!!
– Heidi 🙂
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