Parents are always looking for fun activities for kids. If these activities also have educational value, that is even better. This article explains how to combine learning about the properties of 3D or three dimensional geometric shapes with practical fun making them. Kids love making these shapes, as you can see by the finished product in the thumbnail picture. Next time your child complains they have nothing to do, throw a challenge at them. Tell them to make some 3D geometrical shapes. They'll be occupied for hours.
Children love to learn by doing. It makes sense, the more fun children have, the more likely they are to remember new information. By having to produce something for themselves they think more deeply about new information and retain it.
Why make three dimensional shapes?
Apart from it being a lot of fun, why should children learn to make 3D shapes? There are a number of reasons.
In most places learning about geometrical shapes will be part of the school curriculum. As they progress through school, children will be expected to be able to identify 2D and 3D geometric shapes, be able to describe them and identify their properties. This knowledge can be reinforced at home in a fun way.
What properties will children learn?
The terms they will be introduced to may seem strange at first. Maybe you’ve also forgotten what you learned at school?
Take a cube for example, a simple box shape. Are you able to say straight off how many faces, edges and vertices it has? To refresh your memory, a face is the surface you look at, just like looking at a persons face to identify them. A cube has 6 faces. A vertex or vertices are the corners, and the edges run between the corners. See how easy it is. But, unless a child actually handles the shape and explores these properties, they can seem confusing.
What shapes are easiest to make?
There are many online sites that give you instructions for how to make 3D shapes. One easy to use site is Smart Kiddies Mathematics, where you'll find all kinds of fun mathematical ideas. This site, along with many others supplies the net or pattern for you, making it a good starting point. The easiest shapes to start with are cubes, prisms and pyramids. As well as the net, the only equipment needed is firm paper, scissors, glue stick and coloured pens or crayons to decorate the shape.
Older children, once they have the basic skills, like to explore and try and work out the net of a 3D shape for themselves. They can do this by carefully taking a box or other 3D packet or shape apart, and observing how it was put together. Or, as they become more experienced they may like to try and work out the nets for more complicated 3D shapes themselves
Some practical uses for 3D shapes.
Having made some shapes, what can be done with them? Well, children will have unlimited ideas and probably need no prompting. They can be used as name plates, storage boxes, made into mobiles to decorate a bedroom, or fixed together to build models. When decorating, children may like to use a thematic approach, thus combining the learning of the practical information with a personal theme they are passionate about.
Making three dimensional geometric shapes is a wonderful rainy day or school holiday activity.
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