Fun Ways to Learn 3-D Shapes


The Question:  We are learning 3-D shapes. Does anyone have any fun, hands-on activities to teach cone, sphere, cylinder and cube?

 The Answers:

We sort food. cone- Hershey kiss; sphere- cheese ball; cylinder- marshmallow; cube- cheese cube!
There is a good post on 3-D and 2-D shapes on Smedley’s Smorgasbord Kindergarten, with loads of activities and pictures.
The video by Harry Kindergarten and called 3D shapes. Wonderful video! I use it every year.
Make a cube with toothpicks and marshmallows! My kindergarteners always LOVE that! Great way to reinforce number of edges and vertices. I give them 8 marshmallows and 12 toothpicks and tell them to figure it out! Usually a few of them will get it and then others will start to catch on!
3D shape hunt around the classroom or school. (Paper towel rolls, tissue boxes, globe, etc) There is also a book I use. I think it’s called Captain Invisible and the 3D Shapes.
We did a shape hunt too and loved Harry Kindergarten’s shape song. It tends to get stuck in the head though.
I love Teacher Tipster’s 3D Shapes song! You can find it on YouTube. It’s not one to show kids though-it is for teachers. You will have to write down words and sing yourself. Kids love it. He has lots of great songs.
Food, Harry Kindergarten, and the toothpick/marshmallows are my staple activities as well!
My kids love this easy circle game! First you begin by passing a shape around the circle and everyone identifies it. Then you make it more challenging by sending several around the circle, waiting a few seconds before sending each one. You can continue changing shapes and/or directions. The kids get very serious as I make the game “harder”!  All the time they’re practicing basic vocabulary/shape ID. It’s fun to have four different shapes going in two different directions and watching them really want to say the right word! (This can easily be adapted for any skill)
My kids loved using a feely box to practice learning 3D shapes! 
We play “what am I” in my classroom and my kids love it. I just separate them into 2 teams and give them clues about the shape (exi-I am a 3D shape. You can wear me on your head. You can find me in a construction zone). I do it for 2D as well.
I have wooden 3D shapes that I put in a sack. Each student takes a turn as we chant “Wooden blocks, wooden blocks, coming your way! When you pick a shape, what will you say?” Then the student pulls out a shape and identifies it. (Originally, the chant was for pattern blocks, I just changed it to “wooden blocks” for 3D shape practice.)
I also use the Harry Kindergarten video, then we do a picture sort. I believe I got it off it has the 3D shapes to put at the top of the columns then there are several real world pictures and the kids sort them by shape. they can do it in teams or whole group. there’s probably 25-30 pictures. I think it was a freebie too!
We take a 3D shape hunt around the school & playground with iPads after reading Tana Hoban’s books, “Shapes, Shapes, Shapes;” & “Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres.” I project the students’s photographs onto the SmartBoard & each student describes his/her picture.
Make snack bags with Bugles, kits, and other 3-D snacks, have them sort and graph them before they can eat them
We make a shape museum in our classroom. We send a letter home and ask students to contribute items they find at home that match the 3D shapes.
Clay and popsicle sticks
We have a 3-D museum. Kids label them with their attributes.
Make em! Toothpick and marshmallows!
I start off with introducing the names and then have the kids go on a hunt at home and bring in some of their treasured shapes. (I get some of the craziest 3D shaped items!! But so much fun) First they love sharing!! Second we name them and their special features. After I complete this activity the kids are constantly finding 3D shapes everywhere. Costs nothing and its a great family activity!!!
Harry Kindergarten on YouTube is amazing!!
I have created a paper with all the 2-D and 3-D objects that we teach and after exploring real 2-D and 3-D objects like the ones others suggested, we as a class “make” the shapes into real objects by adding details. For instance the rectangle often becomes a door or a truck, the sphere a basketball or soccer ball, the cone a party hat etc. Then the students each make their own creations and share them with the class on the Smartboard. They have to say the name of the shape and what object they made it into. Finally for homework they have to take the paper home and tell an adult. The adult signs the paper and the students return it.
TpT has some good paper activities to follow the hands-on lessons. Great ideas here!
I am planning a 3D shape hunt around the class and school. The plan is to take our iPads and take pictures of the shapes so students can narrate adding the properties of each shape. We can put it all together in an iMovie.
I made a graph for the students with cone, cylinder, sphere and cube. Then handed the students a bag of snacks that had those shapes. They graphed them and then could eat the snack.
We have students bring in something from home for their assigned 3d shape then we sort them. We also do a food sort for the different 3d shapes. Food just seems to help make the connection, plus it’s fun to eat!
Miss Bindergarten
Miss Bindergarten Takes a Field Trip with Kindergarten is one giant 2-D and 3-D shape hunt.
I name my tables with colors and shapes. One table is the purple cones, another is the red cubes, the kids get used to hearing it so much that they learn them very quickly.
Play London bridges, when they close their arms around a child reach into a bag and pull out a 3d shape. Name it and an object that cones in that shape. Play again, catching a few more people. Great warm up and movement break.
3-D structures made with toothpicks and mini marshmallows or gumdrops.
Teacher Tipster!!! It’s not really hands-on, but a fun way to introduce 3-D shapes!
Molding with Play dough . It’s sort of challenging but the exploration is great!
We have these in our store and you can buy them as a bundle and save a little $. The kids love working with the mats and building them & our admin love that they are hands on. 

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