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This post has been co-written with Ben Wolfson, a full-time educator and assistant principal in the USA.
Geometry is a great start of the year math unit for preschoolers as they don’t need to know any numbers or number words, and they will most likely already have some degree of 2d shape recognition skills. Print out this mini book to practice tracing shapes and when they’re done, you can send them home with their completed books to show off. Your students will be drawing 2D shapes all by themselves in no time!
The Importance of 2D Shape Recognition
2D shape recognition is the foundational building block for many geometry units for years to come. It plays a central part in preschool math as there are plenty of examples of these shapes around your room, and you can use them to start conversations about what makes a triangle a triangle instead of a square. This will help build your students’ ability to classify items according to set criteria which is another key mathematical and scientific skill.
How To Use The Drawing 2D Shapes Mini Booklet
Practice Tracing Shapes In The Classroom
This mini booklet is a great way to have your students practice tracing shapes. While it may make the booklet a little thicker, you can get multiple uses from it if you cut and laminate each page. Once your students have mastered drawing 2D shapes in their booklet, you can expand their understanding with these simple activities:
Find real-life examples – the best way to help preschool students with their 2D shape recognition is to have them find actual examples of each shape. You could set up bins around the classroom with each shape on the front of a bin and have students hunt the room for objects that have those shapes on. You can promote critical thinking for objects that have more than one shape and having students decide which bin to put them in.
Play “guess my shape” – guess my shape is a great game for two students to play together. One player picks a page from their booklet and describes it using preschool math language: how many straight lines they see, how many sharp corners, and so on. The other person looks through their own book and tries to work out which shape is being described. This will help develop their flexibility and vocabulary, as well as helping them practice turn-taking and giving clues to help their partner.
Create compound shapes – another way to have students practice tracing shapes is to introduce them to the concept of compound shapes: shapes and pictures made up from other shapes. Silly faces are a great place to start here, and students could cut out shapes from spare pages of the mini booklet and create crazy compound shape faces for the classroom walls. You could even extend this challenge by insisting on certain numbers of each shape or having students list out the shapes that they used.