When it comes to teaching 3D shapes it’s important to use hands-on materials, activities and songs to help your students retain this tricky concept.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for teaching 3D shapes to young children in pre-k or kindergarten. I also wrote some very simple 3D shape songs for you that incorporate hands on learning; keep reading to download the 3D shapes printable song charts.
Teaching 3D Shapes
Each of the songs below is meant to be taught individually over the course of at least one or two weeks. If you try to teach all the 3D shapes at once it can be confusing for young children. When they have a solid understanding of 3D shapes you can review the songs as necessary.
For each of these simple songs your students should be seated in a circle. You will need a cheap party hat from the dollar store for the cone song. As you sing the song the students can pass the hat around the circle as they sing along with you. Once the students are familiar with the song and passing the hat you can tell them that you will sing the song a certain number of times (twice, three times- your choice) and when it’s over the person holding the hat gets to wear it.
You will need a small, cube shaped box such as the one pictured above for the cube song. Prior to introducing the cube place a small trinket inside. The students will pass the cube around as they sing the song with you; when the song is over the person who is holding the box gets to open it to discover what is inside.
A coffee can is the perfect prop for this song because it is big and requires two hands to hold and pass- leaving no opportunity for little hands to stray.
Using an inflatable beach ball for the sphere provides yet another opportunity to keep those hands busy. Children are also developing coordination skills as they turn and use both hands to pass the ball. You could also have students roll the ball to each other across the circle for even more fun!
Culminating 3D Shape Activity
Once your students have become familiar with the 3D shapes you can do this culminating activity that incorporates hands-on fun and food! Of course, you will still need to review the songs and shapes throughout the year.
You will need the following supplies for this activity:
- Bugles or any food that is cone shaped
- Cheese cubes, croutons or any food that is cube shaped
- Kix cereal or any other sphere shaped food
- Marshmallows or any other cylindrical food item
Give each child in your class a baggie or a coffee filter and then give them one of each of the food items listed above to place in their baggie or coffee filter. Seat the students in your large group area in front of you. Place the items from the 3D songs next to you (party hat, can, box, and ball) and select one at a time to hold up. As you hold up each item sing the corresponding song and invite the children to join you in singing along. As you hold up the objects and sing the song students will select the matching food item and hold it up. After you have finished reviewing the 3D shapes students can eat the props.