There are many core skills that children need to learn. There are also many ways to teach these core skills. As a teacher and parent, I always try to find ways to make learning engaging and hands-on. When teaching shapes, I created this kindergarten worksheet and math activity.
The activity is fun, and makes math meaningful in the real world. It also involves play glasses – or detective glasses to help find shapes. What could be better?
Although I initially used this activity with kindergarten children, I later successfully used it again in my grade 1/2 class and any children learning to recognize shapes would also benefit from the math activity.
When learning about shapes and math in the real world, what better way to learn then to get up and moving and search for shapes around us?
By challenging children to look for and discover all of the shapes that make up our world, it encourages children to realize the importance of math in our daily lives.
I handed out the “Shape Hunt” kindergarten worksheet and a clipboard to everyone. A link to a FREE copy of our Shape Hunt sheet is included below.
There is not a lot of planning involved in this math activity. Since you are looking for shapes in the real world, you simply have to start walking. You will need the following:
- “Shape Hunt” kindergarten worksheet
- Clipboards (Optional)
- Play Glasses (Optional)
Since I work with different groups of children, I decided to laminate my “Shape Hunt” sheets for each child. This way I am able to reuse the sheets as I do the math activity with different groups and hold onto them for several years.
Since I laminated the sheets, I then gave each child a write and wipe marker. You can simply use pencils if you are not laminating your sheets.
I also gave each child a pair of glasses. They are just play glasses, without glass. However, they added so much to this math activity! The kids had so much fun wearing their detective glasses!
This activity is also a great chance to get out of the classroom and even outside.
Kindergarten Worksheet and Math Activity
To start, we went through what each of the shapes were on the sheet and tracing our finger over the shape to practice. I then gave everyone a dry erase marker and off we went!
We began by walking through the school in search of each of the shapes. Many children found several of the shapes really quickly. Children began seeing doors as rectangles, floor tiles as squares and lights as circles.
As children found each shape they put a check mark beside the shape. On their own many children began making tally charts on their “Shape Hunt” sheet to keep track of how many of each shape they found.
Children proudly walked around the school, with their ‘shape detective’ glasses on and were very excited as they found different shapes.
Children noticed shapes in items that they see and use every day, but now they were looking at their world with a math mind set and finding math all around them.
They even found some shapes that I didn’t initially notice. The first time they found the shape, they traced over it with their marker and then added a tally mark.
Since tally marks were new to some students, those children simply made a dot each time they found the shape.
I was so impressed with how well children did to find shapes and how excited they were when they spotted one.
Math Activity Outdoor Hunt
We later took our shape hunt outside to look for more shapes outdoors. We found that bricks were rectangles, windows were squares, clocks and gates were circles and even homes in the neighborhood were pentagons!
Children even starting looking at their clothes and found designs that had ovals and diamonds and many other shapes. The shapes were everywhere!
I was so happy with how well this math activity turned out. Being able to move through the school and outside looking for shapes was a great way to connect math to real life.
Our world is made up of these shapes (and more) and this activity encouraged children to focus on finding and really noticing them.
You could do a Shape Hunt again for 3 dimensional shapes. Even when doing this shape hunt often children did find 3D shapes instead of 2D. For example they found a ball to represent a circle, instead of a sphere.
Depending on the age of the children you are doing the hunt with you could have a great conversation about the difference between 2D and 3D shapes. However, since I was working with young children, today I let them find 2D or 3D shapes.
If you are working with older children, you could use a blank sheet, similar to the “Shape Hunt” sheet and have children draw in some of the shapes that they are learning. Once they have chosen their shapes, then go for a hunt.
Some shapes are more challenging to find. Keep in mind that the shape does not have to be exactly the same and sometimes a shape is simply two shapes put together. Either way, getting children moving around the searching in the real world, versus a workbook, will help make math more meaningful.
For a FREE copy of the kindergarten worksheet, “Shape Hunt” sheet used in this math activity, click the image below to subscribe to Hands-On Teaching Ideas. By subscribing you will gain access to my FREE Resource Library full of printables resources.
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