3 Activities for Teaching 3D Shapes

3D Shape Activities for Kindergarten
Looking for some fun and fresh ideas for kicking off your geometry unit on solid figures? Try one of these three, easy activities for teaching 3D shapes in your Kindergarten or first grade classroom! 

1. Mystery Bag

Mystery bag for 3D shapes
A fun way to kick off a geometry unit on 3D shapes is using a "Mystery Shape Pack" or mystery bag. An oversized laundry sack or yard trash bag will easily hold and conceal many objects. Find items around your house or classroom for each of the solid figures you are teaching. You can also have students bring in items from home to add to the mystery bag. After you have gathered a sufficient number of items, gather your class on the carpet, do a big reveal of each item in the bag, and classify them by shape. After the items are sorted, discuss the attributes of each group. Check out some of the fun 3D shape items from our mystery bag: foam roller, shoe box, Magic 8 ball, Rubik cube, Pokeball, chocolate kiss, Pringles can, battery, bouncy ball...
Examples of cubes, cones, spheres, cylinders, and rectangular prisms around the house
It's fun to display the mystery solid figures as a shape museum during the unit. Seeing the visuals will help students discover and understand that color, size, and orientation are non-defining attributes.

2. Food

What better way to pique your students' interests and help them learn about solid figures than by shape tasting! Create a 3D "restaurant" in your classroom and allow students to "order" a different food from each shape group on the menu. So many easy, yummy, fun foods to include! 
3-D Shape Snack Activity
Cube: Cheese and caramel
Cylinder: Bubble gum, pretzel rods, string cheese, tootsie rolls, marshmallows
Sphere: Cheese balls, Whoppers candy, Kix cereal
Rectangular Prism: Juice box, wafer cookies, Kit Kat
Cone: Bugles, Hershey kiss, ice cream cone 

3. Discovery

Kids need to be touching the shapes, so it's essential to use manipulatives! Don't just tell students how many faces a cube has. Let students hold the cube, trace the square face of the solid figure, and run their fingers along the edges of the cube. The shape museum should be hands-on and interactive. PlayDoh plus solid figures equals discovery fun!
Hands on activities for teaching 3D figures
I created an anchor chart for 3D shapes that is interactive and can be used year after year! I made the lines with Washi Tape. Post-it notes are easy to remove from the chart. This can also be used as a math center with students completing the chart with sticky notes. 
Anchor Chart Geometric Solids faces, edges, vertices 
Solid figures anchor chart
You probably have geometric solid manipulatives in your classroom, but if not, I would recommend this set from Learning Resources. I love that you can see through them. 
Learning Resources Geometric solids
After students have had the opportunity to touch and discover 3D shapes and manipulatives, check out this resource chock-full of worksheets, games, and printables for independent practice, homework, and assessments. 
Let's play with 3D shapes worksheet
3D shape activities
3D Shape Printable game
Coloring by shape worksheet
3-D Geometric Solids printable activity
Easter basket shape sort
Geometric solids worksheet
Happy Teaching!

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