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Shapes Activities {2D & 3D Math Resources}

These Teaching 2D & 3D Shapes Printables are all you need for the best hands-on learning activities for 2D & 3D shapes and objects. There’s fun puzzles, mini-books, scavenger hunts & games to learn about shape names, features, edges & corners.

Images of Shapes in Real life posters

Teaching kids about shape is another one of those subjects that is fun to plan and teach. The kids love learning about it too especially when they can hunt down shapes in real life objects around them.

There are so many teaching shapes printables, games and activities you won’t know which to try first! 

Teaching Kids Shape

I think most of us can agree that teaching shape is one of the less stressful math concepts.

There are so many resources available and every teacher I have ever worked with feels much more comfortable about teaching it! YAY for shape!

But before we fall into the trap of thinking that teaching shape is straightforward there are a couple of pitfalls you need to be aware of.

The biggest problem areas for kids are:

  • Language of Shape
  • Visualizing Shapes
    • Being able to visualise shapes in other shapes
    • Interpreting & visualising what cannot be seen

As a numeracy coach, I experienced too many teaching programs that did not address these areas. Teaching programs tend to focus on ONE main thing; the teaching of faces, sides and edges! 

image of a bus in a rhombus meme

Teaching Shape Language

Teaching kids the correct language of shape is of utmost importance! Second to this is the language and vocabulary that Teachers use in class to talk about shape.

The language and vocabulary of shape is not easy. I can tell you, as a immigrant from Uk to Australia,  it’s very confusing out there.

Even the names and physical features of shapes differ between countries. Take just one example, trapeziums and trapezoids, they are very different things in  different countries!

In addition to international naming confusion, too often the correct names for certain shapes have been replaced with non mathematical names. The poor old rhombus sees to have taken the brunt of this one! 

I don’t understand why this has really happened, it’s not because kids can’t remember tricky names! They really can, there’s nothing trickier than saying a 3 syllable dinosaur name. So a rhombus is  not a diamond when learning about shapes in math! In fact there is NO mathematical shape called a diamond or a star for that matter!

Please be mindful of  your language. There are many variations and alternatives for some words, especially in math, so I use ‘all the words’ interchangeably to help my kids.

If you’re annoyed by this and thinking it isn’t an issue, you would be very wrong! Sadly as a numeracy coach I have experienced firsthand a whole cohort of year 7 kids not being able to draw, name or identify a rhombus. But when I drew it they all called it a diamond! eek so it matters!

Visualizing Shapes

Visual processing is the ability to mentally manipulate and transform spatial images. In the classroom this includes:

  • recognising something from a picture
  • visualising a shape from given properties (4 sides, 4 corners)
  • seeing similarities and differences in shapes
  • identifying 2D shapes in 3D objects
  • viewing objects from a different viewpoint or that are partially hidden
  • imagining what an object would look like if it was turned or flipped.
  • visualising a shape opened out and vice versa
  • completing a pattern

Help kids to build their abilities to visualise things mentally by providing them with activities to create, draw and manipulate shapes for themself and not activities that promote remembering facts about the features of shapes. 

Teaching Shapes Printables, Games, Puzzles & Activities

Use these teaching resources in your math centers or whole class lessons for teaching 2D shape & 3D objects. We have included US & Non US versions of the printables in each download.

24- 2D Shapes puzzles. Each shape has 5 sections, including, a geometric image, real life images, shape name and number of corners and edges. Differentiate the puzzles by removing some of the center pieces. The puzzles will work with 3 pieces or 5.
Us these 2D Shapes Frayer Boards for lesson introductions, cooperative learning activities or assessment. This download includes 40 templates.
23 reordering Puzzles of 2D Shapes. Perfect for your math centers or morning work. Includes US/non US versions - circle, square, rectangle, oval, kite, rhombus, trapezoid, trapezium, octagon, pentagon, hexagon, decagon.
13 2D Shapes made int these easy cut Puzzles. Match Shape name, geometric image, real life image and number of edges and corners. Includes circle, oval, rhombus, triangle, square, rectangle, trapezoid/trapezium (US & NON US) octagon, hexagon, pentagon, decagon & kite.
2D shape posters includes math features and shapes in real life. 12 Shapes in colour & B&W includes regualr shapes & Kite, Rhombus, Decagon. Download Now! #teachingmath #bulletinboards
3D shape/ objects posters includes math features and shapes in real life. 15 Shapes in colour & B&W includes regular shapes & prisms, pyramids cuboids Download Now! #teachingmath #bulletinboards
Bright A4 Shapes in Real Life Posters are perfect for classroom bulletin boards. Download Now! #teachingmath #bulletinboards
These Hands-on learning activities for teaching children about 2D and 3D shapes and their properties are so much fun and ideal for math centers. Great shape activities, games, puzzles & classroom decor for preschool, kindergarten and first grade kids. #math #2Dshapes
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