While working on the water safety post I got to thinking about an activity kidlets could do to help them learn to differentiate between 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional objects—between circles and spheres and squares and cubes. An activity where they would discover how a square peg won’t fit in a round hole! Did the name square peg trigger a memory? It kind of did for me. Discovered it was really Square Pegs a TV show that was popular in the early 80s…after my time, but before my kiddos. But back to shapes…

There are a few skills children need before they can recognize, let alone name shapes.

##### 1. **Visual Perception**:

Visual perception allows children to ‘see’ differences between objects. Typically this is just matter of time/maturity and practice; however, there are developmental optometrists available for vision therapy if needed.

##### 2**. Hands-On Manipulation**:

Manipulating shapes will help kiddos integrate and internalize the characteristics of those objects and lays the foundation understanding math concepts.

##### 3. **Language**:

Give your kidlets ample opportunities to practice describing shapes—in this way they’ll have more chance to learn –to accommodate this new knowledge—of knowing the names of shapes and how they’re different.

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#### READ…

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** Circles and Squares Everywhere!** By Max Grover This book was poorly reviewed by several professional organizations (“…Concept books must be accurate.”) I guess I don’t consider this solely a

*concept*book. Yes, it highlights circles and squares (maybe some square pegs!) showing they pop up in different places. But when I read the book to preschool kidlets and came to a page like “Tires and Cars and Trucks and Roads” I didn’t present it as ALL of those objects had circles; I let the kidlets look at the page and asked, “Where do you

*see*circles?” The text served more as a prompt for me…maybe I’m a little more easy-going than most…

**Enrich the Play: Square vs Cube and Circle vs Sphere**

__Materials Needed__:

__Materials Needed__

Wooden block

Beach Ball (or any ball)

Wooden Rainbow Stacking Boxes Large

Colored Circle shapes – coordinate with the colors of Roll Cups

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups

Colored Square shapes – coordinate with the colors of Stacking Boxes

__Instructions__:

__Instructions__

**Sing**:

“*I Roll the (beach) ball to (insert child’s name)*

(S)he rolls it back to me”

*“I Roll the (beach) ball to (insert child’s name)*

*(S)he rolls it back to me*”

**Variations:•**Toss the (beach) ball

•Bounce the (beach) ball

**Extend the Play: Square vs Cube and Circle vs Sphere, Part 1**

•Bring out the wooden block. Try to ‘roll’ the cube.

Ask:*“Why doesn’t this wooden block roll?”***Remember: Accept ALL answers!**

•If your kiddo doesn’t notice the straight lines and pointed corners, highlight those characteristics and compare it to the ball’s smooth, rounded surface.

•Often we give names to shapes. A ball is a name for a shape called a SPHERE and block is a name for a shape called a CUBE.

•Let your kidlet handle and explore these items as you emphasize some of the characteristics of the shapes.**——————————– Cubes** have 6 ‘faces’ of squares

———————————--each face has sides of equal lengths**———————————Spheres** are perfectly symmetrical around its center

———————————--all points on a sphere’s surface are the same distance from the center

•Bring out the circles and square shapes.

Ask:** How are these alike?**

(Some examples: They’re both shapes; Some have the same color; Some are big/little)

**How are these different?**(Some examples: Some have straight lines, some have curved or rounded lines; Some have points, some don’t; Some are big and some are little)

•Now, bring out the nested blocks—spread them out, with the open side down.

Ask: **How are these the same as the squares?**

(Some examples: They both have straight lines; They both have corners; They both have leg lengths that are equal)

Take it further—**WHAT COULD THE CUBES DO THAT THE SQUARES COULDN’T?**

•Do the same with the circles and Fisher –Price Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups.

I’d LOVE to hear what your kidlets have to say on what makes a 3D shape different from a 2D shape.

**Extend the Play: Square vs Cube and Circle vs Sphere, Part 2**

•Bring out the circles and square shapes.

Ask:**“How are these alike?”**

(Some examples: They’re both shapes; Some have the same color; Some are big/little)

**“How are these different?”**

(Some examples: Some have straight lines, some have curved or rounded lines; Some have points, some don’t; Some are big and some are little)

• Set aside the circles

• Now, bring out the nested blocks—spread them out, with the open side down

Ask:**“How are these the same as the squares?”**

(Some examples: They both have straight lines; They both have corners; They both have leg lengths that are equal)

•Take it further—**WHAT COULD YOU DO WITH THE CUBES THAT YOU COULDN’T WITH THE SQUARES?”**

Here’s a hint of one thing that can be done…

•Do the same with the circles and Fisher –Price Brilliant Basics Stack & Roll Cups.

I’d LOVE to hear what your kidlets have to say on what makes a 3D shape different from a 2D shape. Share their thoughts below! Would you like more free learning activities to do? Click here!

Yours in Play!

Teacher Karen