Learning at Home - Exploring Shapes
Age Groups: Toddler, Preschool
Topics: At Home, Out and About

You will need:


Take a walk around the house and see how many different shapes you can find together:

• Sort your shapes into 2 dimensional shapes: circle, square, rectangle and triangle

• Sort your shapes into 3 dimensional shapes: spheres, cubes, cuboids and pyramids

• Talk about the properties of the shapes: sides, corners, angles, edges, faces:

“This cube has 6 square faces”

“This triangle has 3 sides and 3 angles”

• Explore further by creating cylinder shapes by rolling up a rectangle of paper.

• Unravel a cardboard cylinder tube to see how the cylinder shape was made.

• Open a small cardboard box to see how the cube shape was created.


How this activity helps develop early maths learning

Van Hiele (1986) proposed Levels of Geometric Thinking:

Level 0 Children learn to recognise geometric shapes by viewing them as a whole.

Level 1 Children learn individual characteristics of shapes such as “a triangle has three sides.”

Level 2 Children learn more complicated relationships between the characteristics of a shape – for instance, they may come to understand that a square is a rectangle because it has all the same properties of a rectangle.

Most preschoolers are operating at level 0. Children in the primary school stage are typically at level 1. Providing children with opportunities to explore and experiment with shapes and their properties allows them to move through the stages.

Van Hiele, P. M. (1986). Structure and Insight: A theory of mathematics education. Orlando, FL: Academic.