Isn’t it great when learning can be FUN?!? Here is an easy way to teach shapes that kids will love! The materials are cheap, the set up is simple, and the learning is hands-on. This math activity is a great way to introduce shapes to kids, and also to use for practice and review. We did our shapes activity in the bath tub, but it can easily be adapted for classroom use, too!
This bath time is brought to you as part of the Wash & Learn series with Bath Activities for Kids. This week’s learning focus is math!
An Easy Way to Teach Shapes
Learning shapes is important. As a former 5th grade teacher, let me tell you that the algebra and geometry lessons start a lot earlier than they did when we were in school. Any steps you can take NOW to help give your child an early grasp of important math concepts will have long term benefit!!
For this math activity with the kids, I wanted to focus on learning about shapes with sides in a hands-on way. To set up, I used foam craft sticks found at a craft store. If you can’t find these, you can always just cut sheets of craft foam into strips, but the precut sticks will save you time.
I separated the foam craft sticks by color and labeled the correct number of sticks with a shape’s name, number of sides, and a small drawing of the shape. For example, for triangle, I wrote the number 3, the word triangle, and drew a small picture of a triangle on each of 3 sticks. I made enough sticks to be able to make these shapes: triangle, square, rectangle (I cut 2 of the craft sticks shorter), pentagon, hexagon, and octagon. I used a permanent marker to do the writing and let the craft sticks dry for a little while before using them.
When I finished all the labeling, I drew the kids a warm bath, added a few drops of food coloring for some color, and floated all the craft sticks in the blue water.
The kids took turns plucking one stick from the water and reading the number on it. That told us how many more sticks we needed to find of that color. The kids hunted for the sticks and stuck them to the wall of the bath tub. Foam sticks to things when wet like a removable sticker!
Once we had all the sticks to make a shape, I’d help them read the name of the shape written on the stick and show them the picture of what it should look like. Then we’d build it and count the number of sides.
We repeated the activity for all the shapes. When we finished, the kids pulled all the shapes down and repeated the activity on their own. They had a lot of fun building the shapes and counting all the sides.
We even played a little game where I’d call out a shape and the kids would rush to be the first to point at it.
All in all this is a really simple and fun way to get your kids to practice math! If you don’t want to do the activity during bath time, wet foam also sticks to windows, refrigerators, whiteboards, easels, glass doors, cookie sheets, shower doors, etc. Basically anything flat that won’t get ruined by water. So this activity is easily adaptable to other areas of your home or for the classroom.
Now hop over to Bath Activities for Kids to read about another fun math activity for kids!
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Do you know an easy way to teach shapes?
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