You can help your child to use appropriate language to name, describe, and sort three-dimensional shapes.
What you need:
- Play dough - click for recipe (PDF, 325KB)
- A plastic knife, or ‘safe’ kitchen knife.
What to do:
Have your child explore the play dough, making and talking about different shapes they are making.
Encourage your child to describe the shapes they have made, including using shape language such as, "round, like a ball, pointy, smooth, straight, bendy, curved, square shaped, like a sausage, flat,…"
Have your child sort shapes into groups that have something the same about them. Again, encourage the use of shape language and logic as they explain and justify the groups they have made.
Ask, "Can you make ball shapes of different sizes?”
When these are made, ask, "What do you notice about all of these shapes?"
Encourage and listen for descriptions that include, "No corners, no flat sides, round. Curved, not straight…"
Ask, "Can you make some ‘box’ shapes of different sizes?” Or, "Can you make some shapes like a dice or a cube?" You may have to model what you mean, including how to use a knife to make the sides and edges straight.
When several cube shapes are made are made, say, "Tell me what you notice about all the shapes." Encourage and listen for the language of "edges, corners, sides, square shapes, flat parts, pointy parts…"
Encourage your child to make and talk about other shapes like a can, a cone, or a pyramid, and to talk about the features of these shapes.
For any of the shapes, have them see if they can see similar shapes around the room they are in, or around your home environment. Together notice the features of these shapes.
Now play a game in which you take turns to make a solid shape with the dough, but do not let the other person see the shape.
The person who did not make the shape asks questions about the shape, using the shape language explored earlier, until they can correctly identify the shape.
What to expect your child to do:
- Use a range of shape language to appropriately describe shapes they make or see.
- Sort common shapes by their appearance.
Related Māori vocab:
|sharp, pointy||koi, whakakoikoi|
He Whakawhitinga Kōrero:
- Hangaia ētahi āhua rerekē ki te poikere. (Make some different shapes from the play dough.)
- Hangaia he āhua porotaka. (Make a round shape.)
- He kōpekapeka tēnei āhua. Māu tētahi āhua kōpekapeka e hanga. (This shape is zigzaggy. You make a zigzaggy shape.)
- Hangaia he āhua kia rite ki te tōtiti. (Make a shape that is similar to a sausage.)
- Hangaia ētahi āhua karekau he kokonga. (Make some shapes without corners.)
- Hangaia he āhua e whai tapa ana. (Make a shape with some edges.)
- Whakarōpūngia ngā āhua? Whakamāramahia ō rōpū? (Put the shapes in to groups. Explain your groups.)
- Anei tētahi rōpū āhua. Karekau he tapa torotika o ēnei āhua. (Here is a group of shapes. These shapes have no straight edges.)
- Hangaia ētahi āhua he rite ki te pouaka. Kia rerekē te rahi o ngā āhua pouaka nei. Whakamahia te māripi hei tapahi i ngā mata. (Make some shapes that are similar to boxes. These box shapes should be different sizes. Use the knife to cut the surfaces/faces.)
- He rite tēnei āhua ki te pouaka. He mataono rite. He rite katoa ngā mata o tēnei āhua. (This shape is like a box. Its called a cube. All the surfaces/faces are the same.)
- E hia ngā mata o tēnei pouaka? E hia ōna kokonga? E hia ōna tapa? (How many surfaces/faces has this box got? How many corners? How many edges?)
- E kite ana koe i tētahi mea i te ruma he rite tōna āhua ki tēnei? (Can you see something in the room which has a similar shape to this?)
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