One of the very first math lessons we teach in kindergarten is two-dimensional shapes! There are so many ways you can introduce shapes while also engaging your students in fun, hands-on activities. I think one of my favorite things about teaching shapes is that the students don’t even realize they are learning! They get to build, sort, and manipulate shapes in many ways, which leads to high engagement. Read on for my favorite kindergarten-approved 2D shape activities that your students will love!
Activities for Teaching 2D Shapes
Since shapes are all around us, chances are that many of our students will enter kindergarten with a basic knowledge of shape names. It also doesn’t take too long to fill in the missing shape names that our students haven’t quite mastered. After that, the goal is for our students to describe, build, and even manipulate two-dimensional shapes. This is where some additional shape practice activities can come in handy!
Introducing Shape Names and Attributes
The first step in teaching students shapes is to make sure they know all of the 2D shape names and their unique attributes. I have found that all students benefit from an introduction (or reintroduction) to the shape names and attributes before we move on to other 2D shape activities.
I love introducing and reviewing shapes with these 2D Shapes Poems! These poems are catchy and help students learn about each shape’s attributes as well as relate them to real-world objects that they already know. Before you know it, your students will look at a stop sign and say, “Hey, that’s an octagon!” 🙂 #proudteachermoment
I introduce the shapes one at a time which prevents overwhelm and allows the students to focus on that shape and its unique attributes. We practice one shape each day until all of them have been added to our shape wall!
Identifying and Describing Shapes
After plenty of time has been spent pronouncing the shape names and discussing the shape attributes, it is time for students to put that knowledge into practice. They are now ready to identify shapes in different contexts and describe them in their own words! As with any new concept, it’s important to keep young learners engaged by using a variety of activities when practicing the same skill multiple times, such as identifying and describing shapes.
Shape Bingo is a fun way to add repetition to your 2D shape practice because students will want to play this game over and over again! I love to play this game in small groups, so we can quickly review the shape names and attributes as we draw each card. For an added challenge, you could pull a card and keep it hidden from the students. Then, give them clues about the shape by describing its unique attributes so that the students can guess the correct shape before placing their bingo markers.
I also love to encourage students to identify shapes in the world around them. One way to practice this skill is with a shape sort, where students can identify and sort a variety of real-world objects based on shape. This 2D shape sort is a very fun center activity that gets students excited to look for shapes all around them. It’s so fun to hear students point out the shapes they see as they walk down the hall!
Here are several more 2D shape activity ideas that will keep your students engaged as they practice identifying and describing shapes in multiple ways:
- Play a shape game where students draw a shape out of a bucket and say its name and whether it has curved or straight lines
- Play “I Spy” where students must find real-world objects that match a specific shape
- Go outside on a nature hunt and see what you can find in each shape
- Do a shape show-and-tell
After students have a good understanding of shape names and their attributes, they are ready to start building shapes on their own! There are many ways to provide individualized opportunities for shape building, based on the fine motor skills of your students. Some students might form shapes using craft sticks while other students might be ready to trace shapes with a highlighter.
In the kindergarten classroom, it’s important to include fine motor practice anywhere we can. Two-dimensional shape building practice is the perfect time to strengthen hand-eye coordination and writing skills! Here are some additional ways to practice forming and writing shapes:
- Practice drawing shapes in the air
- Highlight shapes
- Trace shapes with a writing utensil
- Practice making shapes with sensory materials, such as in sensory trays filled with beads, cereal, rice, etc.
- Trace over shapes with little cars or something similar
- Form shapes with playdough (Check out this playdough mat freebie)
- Form shapes with craft supplies, such as pom-poms, craft sticks, pipe cleaners, etc.
Working With Shapes
Once students have had plenty of time to form shapes using their knowledge of shape names and attributes, they’re ready for the next step: Working with shapes.
When students are given plenty of opportunities to manipulate and work with shapes in various ways, it deepens their understanding of two-dimensional shapes and prepares them for future math concepts.
One of my favorite 2D shape activities is this shape-building activity, where students can see the relationship between shapes as they use pattern blocks to create a larger shape. I love how this activity encourages students to see how shapes are related to each other.
Here are some of my other favorite ways to help students build on their budding knowledge of 2D shapes:
- Sort shapes by attributes, size, color, etc.
- Build with shapes
- See what they can build using only one shape
- Do art projects using a variety of shapes
- Build their name with shapes
- Make a shape book
Using 2D Shape Activities for Centers
Many of the activities I mentioned above would be perfect for math centers in your kindergarten classroom. In fact, I have compiled my ten favorites into a collection of 2D Shapes Centers and Activities! These activities include practice opportunities for 12 different two-dimensional shapes. These shape centers are perfect for kindergarten, Pre-K, and preschool!
Save These 2D Shape Activities
Be sure to save this post to your favorite classroom board on Pinterest so that you can refer back to these ideas later!