The game Find Shapes is a pretty simple one that young children tend to play naturally when they start learning shape names. Shapes are particularly in abundance in man-made settings, but they are often found in nature too. Take the image above, for example, and Find Shapes!
The obvious: A circle
Four circles (orange, yellow, white and blue)
Triangles or wedges in the orange
A small broken white oval shape in the middle
Now how could we extend this activity to stretch our math thinking further? Well, if these were objects in front of us instead of a photograph, we could adjust the angle. What shapes would we find if we lowered our eyes to be level with the plate? Now the orange becomes a half-circle (or dome if you want to do 3-d shapes for older kids). The plate becomes a very long, skinny rectangle, or perhaps a trapezoid, depending on its shape.
This game starts out very simple, but can quickly evolve to be more complex. What would you call some of the shapes that aren’t the standard basic ones. Do those need to be broken down into smaller shapes that compose them? It’s a fun activity that also forms the basis of many “how to draw” books.
The video from the How-to page demonstrates how this game might go with kids as you explore outside (videos on the How-to page are also now available in Spanish):
For those living with social distancing guidelines right now, you don’t have to go ON the playground to find the shapes. In fact, it’s better from a distance. You can play this game looking at anything around you (and in your own home), but if you want some fun images to challenge your kids’ shape finding, check out the Idea Gallery and click on the “Find Shapes” button. It could also be fun to play Find Shapes while embarking on one of the many free virtual museum tours available!
If you’re counting shapes outside, WOMI has some printable frames that can make the activity fun for sharing on social media.
What shapes can you find? Where did you find them? Let us know in the comments!
Melissa is a Graphic Designer & Copywriter at Educational Service District 112 who provides design for Math Anywhere’s printed and online materials. She is also the mother of four young math-curious kiddos.