Pre-K Math: Shapes & Geometry

There are lot of ways to teach shapes in Pre-K. Here are a few ideas I use in my classroom.

Teaching Shapes in Pre-K

Memory Game

Put three shapes on a tray, cover them with a cloth, and take one away. Uncover it and children guess which shape is missing. Another way to play is to have the children show what they saw using their own set of attribute block shapes or draw what they saw.

shapes memory game

Shape Bingo

Trend makes a great shapes and colors bingo game (or you could make your own). My kids love bingo games.

shape bingo game

Shape Collage

For beginners, provide a lot of pre-cut shapes for children to use to make a picture. Write their dictation on the paper, and ask them to talk about or describe the shapes they used. More advanced children can trace attribute blocks onto construction paper, cut them out, and glue them onto another piece of paper.

shape collage

Shape Boxes

These are small paper mache boxes with lids I found in the craft store. They come in squares, circles, rectanges, hearts, and ovals. Children match the shape of the lid to the correct box. I included a bowl of plastic treasure coins, so they could put a coin in each box.

shape boxes

Geoboards

Children make shapes on the geoboard with rubberbands.

geoboard math

Geoboard Cards

Children duplicate the geometric design on one of the geoboard cards onto their geoboard using rubberbands. I made the geoboard cards by photocopying the Geoboard Dot Paper from Math Their Way, and drawing different designs on them. These can be made to accomodate varying skill levels.

geoboards

Tangrams

Children match the shapes and sizes of the tangrams to the outlines of the shapes on the tangram mats. These tangram mats came from a book called Tangramables, by Learning Resources (Item #LER 0318).

tangram animal shapes

Pattern Block Geometric Designs

Children love to make their own designs with the pattern blocks. The rules are that the blocks must lay flat and must touch on at least one side. You may also want to use some pattern block mats.

pattern block exploration

Shape Book

Children make a book with 4 pieces of paper stapled together. They cut pictures from magazines and glue them on a page. For example, a tire on the circle page, a door on the rectangle page, a slice of pizza on the triangle page.

pre-k shape book

Shape Monster Book

The text of this book reads: “Shape monster, shape monster, Munch, munch, munch. How about a [blue circle] for your lunch.” You can print this book from HubbardsCupboard.org. The source for this idea is an unknown teacher from the Teachers.net chatboard. As far as I know, it is not copyrighted by Hubbards Cupboard, but the site does provide the printable.

shape monster book

Shape Snacks

Cereal Shape Sorting

Children sort mixed cereal pieces.
Examples:
Squares: Chex, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cookie Crunch, other
Circles: Cheerios, Fruit Loops, Apple Jacks, other
Rectangles: Frosted Mini Wheat
Children sort the cereal by shape.

Square Snack

Children spread peanut butter or spreadable cheese on a square saltine cracker.

Rectangle Snack

Children decorate a graham cracker rectangle with icing and sprinkles. These can also be broken in half to show the difference between a square and a rectangle.

Circle

Children cut out a piece of bread with a circle cookie cutter, and spread on butter or peanut butter and jelly.
Children decorate a sugar cookie with icing.
Children spread cream cheese and jam on an English muffin.