Math can be challenging for some students, but it can also be a lot of fun! In my experience, young kids approach math with interest and confidence – especially when it is presented in a hands-on way. We have been working on shapes, so I created these math activities for preschool and/or kindergarten. There was a lot of learning that happened during our work period, but also a lot of excitement and enthusiasm.
For our first centre, I printed and laminated a variety of large shapes. (Free printable for all centres below). This centre included the shapes sheets, as well as, a container filled with different sets of mini erasers. My students love when I bring these erasers out and they have become one of my favourite math manipulatives. However, small beads, gems or any collection of small item will work well for this activity.
With these materials, students traced around the shape using the mini erasers. It was great practice for creating shapes, but also a great alternative to simply drawing the shape with paper and pencil.
Our next centre included felt boards and a variety of felt shapes. I reused our felt shapes from a tangram activity we previously did. Any variety of shapes cut out of felt will work. My students loved this centre. They liked that they were able to use my large felt board. I also supplied a few small felt boards for students to work and create with.
Children were able to play and create with their shapes. It was interesting to watch students discover the fact that two triangles can be used together to create a square and two squares create a rectangle. I love hands-on learning!
This centre is a great opportunity for children to practice creating shapes and is a hands-on alternative to a pencil and paper task. I provided students with large popsicle sticks and “Can You Build a…” cards. (Free printable available near top of page). Some of the shapes are standard geometric shapes, others challenged students to create shapes that they were not familiar with.
Students needed to carefully look at the picture to successfully recreate the shape. They enjoyed using the popsicle sticks because they were easy to move around and they “felt like they were creating pictures”.
This centre was the easiest to prepare, yet it was the favourite for many kids. I simply drew several squiggly shapes on a large sheet of paper and gave students a treasure chest filled with jewels of various shapes. I encouraged them to sort the shapes in any way they wanted.
Some groups decided to sort the jewels by shape, whereas, others sorted by colour or size.
My final shape centre included a foam puzzle kit. I have used this kit many times over the years. It is a great way to get children to identify shapes and search for the same shape in the puzzle pieces to create the picture.
If you don’t have a kit like this, I have used wooden blocks that were different shapes and traced them onto paper to create a picture. Kids then matched the shapes in the picture to the wooden block.
I love creating math activities, like this one, that encouraged children to learn in a hands-on way. I am lucky to work with amazing educators at my school and together we fill our students days with, engaging, learning experiences all day long!