Learn to identify 2D shapes in kindergarten with this free roll-a-shape activity.
Kindergarten students need to get familiar with basic 2D shapes like the rectangle, square, triangle, hexagon, circle and triangle right away.
Here is a free beginning-of-the-year activity kinders can use to practice recognizing shapes.
Let's go over what teaching 2D shapes looks like at the beginning of kindergarten, how to use this activity and how to make it.
Teaching shapes in kindergarten
It's my personal opinion that teaching about shapes should not be one of the "big" standards we cover in kindergarten.
I think in general, shapes is a minor topic, especially when compared to composing and decomposing numbers and learning to add and subtract within 5 and 10.
Yet - we still need to cover it - teach it well and give students ample practice to master naming and describing 2D shapes.
But, I find this particular skill doesn't deserve my small group main lesson teacher time, nor does it deserve to get too much whole group instruction time.
I say all of that to say that it is the perfect skill to plant in other areas of your classroom systems you are setting up at the beginning of the year to teach your students how to be successful.
Here's what I mean:
Students need to learn the names, see the shapes and we can start talking about the vocabulary belonging to each 2D shape.
But - we don't have to give full-blown lessons on the topic. Here are my alternative ways to hit the standard sufficiently:
- Go for mini-lessons.
- Create one new shape anchor chart each day.
- Pick smart, quick videos to teach alongside of you.
- Reinforce with small doses of repetition.
- Insert an activity (two or three) into your classroom systems.
That's why I created this activity.
Use activities to give students practice
I knew I wanted my students to learn how to do math zone activities independently (because I'd soon be busy pulling small groups during math time).
But, I needed to plan smart activities they could do independently and yet still work on our standards.
So, this activity was designed to insert into my classroom system - guided math time - for the beginning of kindergarten.
It is something that they can handle (it has simple directions), takes extremely little prep work and hits these standards:
- K.G.A.2 - Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientation or overall size.
- K.G.5.a - Draw shapes to represent objects in the world.
They can do this 2D roll-a-shape page independently after you model it and they can be successful.
Just right for teaching shapes at the beginning of kindergarten.
It's a small dose of working on shapes without needing to be an entire lesson in itself.
It gets inserted into our guided math time - a classroom system - and it's actually helping me teach my kinders what to do when they come to the practice zone.
How to use this activity
Students will play this independently. They take a paper, a die and writing utensils.
- They roll the die with shapes on it and name the shape they rolled out loud.
- Then they find one of the matching shapes in the picture and either color or trace it.
And that's it.
The roll, say, find and trace or color. Repeat.
The dice makes it feel like a game. It works with beginning kinders.
In our classroom, if they didn't finish (which they never did in one setting) they could return it to the activity drawer in the practice zone with their name on it to finish the next time they rotated here.
If they did finish (rolled every shape and completed the picture) then they took it home.
If you're ready to use this in your classroom - I've got your back.
How to make this activity
Here's how to make this 2D Shapes roll-a-shape activity:
- Print the pages.
- Make dice. [explained below]
I wanted my students to use crayons for this activity, so I ran copies of the roll-a-shape pages onto the backside of scrap paper from our workroom.
Alternatively, you could laminate for use with vis-a-vis markers or slip them into page protectors to use with dry-erase markers too.
How to make shape dice
This tip is a favorite of mine - because these dice are quiet!
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To make your own dice:
- Grab some foam cubes from the dollar tree and a permanent marker.
- Draw one these shapes on each side of the die: circle, rectangle, hexagon, triangle, square.
- Put one shape on there a second time to fill up all six sides.
Instant dice. Quiet dice.
I didn't actually do this when I originally made this activity since these foam cubes didn't exist. I covered up the sides of a regular die with white labels cut down to size and drew on the shapes.
That works too.
Let's wrap it up
With your freebie pages and shape dice - you're set to go! I hope this roll-a-shape activity helps your students practice this skill in small doses so you can teach smart.
You may also love these 8 Activities and Videos to Teach 2D Shapes to help teach 2D shapes in small, yet effective doses.
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