Get into shapes

4 - 6 years
Ideas to help your child practise their numeracy skills - with you, and online
Mother and daughter playing with block shapes

Developed in partnership with Education Services Australia

The Australian Curriculum sets the goal for what all students should learn as they progress through their school life. Skills in the Foundation Year curriculum include:

  • talking about the features of different shapes, whether they have straight sides, and if so how many
  • recognising common shapes such as circles, triangles, squares and rectangles
  • knowing that some objects are solid (three-dimensional, or 3D) while others are flat (two-dimensional, or 2D).

It’s easy to help your child practise these skills as part of everyday life – just use these simple ideas.

Stack and build

An easy way to help your child explore the features of 3D objects is to give them a set of wooden blocks, or a collection of boxes, cans and packages from your cupboards. Their natural play will be full of experiments about the properties of the different shapes. You can also prompt them with questions such as:

  • Which shapes can roll?
  • Which stack easily?
  • Which are best for building a tower? Why?
  • How many ways can you stand each shape? Which way is more stable?
  • What 2D shapes can you see in each object?

Then challenge your child to build a tower with their eyes closed, just by feeling the shapes!

Try a Geoboard

A great way to explore 2D shapes is a geoboard – a board with pins arranged in a square grid, and a set of coloured rubber bands. By hooking the bands around the pins, your child can experiment with shapes and patterns, such as:

  • random collections of different shapes
  • repeated patterns using the same shape in different colours
  • the same shape in different sizes
  • dividing larger shapes into smaller shapes – eg dividing a square into triangles
  • creating pictures using shapes.

You can make your own geoboard using a small corkboard and pins – just push the pins in to make a square grid, and grab some coloured rubber bands. You can also find digital geoboard websites and apps by searching for ‘geoboard’.

Go online

For online reinforcement, Shapes all around me will give your child practice at:

  • recognising shapes around us.



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Last modified
7 April 2020