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Help your child learn about shapes

Geometric shapes
Learning about shapes and geometry plays a major part in your child's numeracy education across the Key Stages. Here are some tips to help them get a head start.

Shapes are a key part of children’s numeracy curriculum right the way from Early Years Foundation Stage to Key Stage 3. As your child develops, their understanding of shapes will diversify and become more sophisticated.

In EYFS and Key Stage 1 children begin to experience shapes in all their different forms. As they grow, they start to talk about and compare these familiar shapes and understand how they are used. They also begin to encounter more unusual shapes. Not only does this learning help with mathematical understanding, but it also supports their reading and writing as it helps them interpret signs and symbols.

Children are expected to learn the names of all the main 2D and 3D shapes.

As children reach Key Stage 2, they will develop knowledge about 2D and 3D shapes and their properties, as well as being introduced to movement and angles. Their learning about shapes becomes more advanced as they develop their learning of geometry, really exploring points, lines and planes and the shapes that they can make, with 3D shapes being a part of this.

Try these activities to support your child’s learning about shapes through the different Key Stages.

Shapes in Early Years Foundation Stage

  • Identify different shapes around the house with your child, for example showing them that a window is square or that a football is round.
  • Encourage your child to match shapes together.

Key Stage 1 shapes activities

  • Put a collection of differently-shaped objects in a bag and take turns to pick one and describe it. The other person will need to guess what it is without looking at it.
  • Use playdough to create all sorts of different shapes. Try matching shapes you make with objects around the house.

Geometry in KS2

  • Play shadow drawing. Take it in turns to find the shadow of an object in the house and trace the outline of it on paper for the rest of the family to guess what it is.
  • Encourage your child to go on a shape hunt, finding a variety of shapes around the house which they can replicate to make a collage or mosaic. Prompt them to think about concepts like tessellation and pattern.
  • Using squared paper or card, encourage your child to consider how 3D shapes are constructed – what measurements they need, how many sides they need to have, etc. Your child could then try making their own using a net, starting with a cube and then trying a pyramid or other shapes.
  • Encourage your child to create a model. It can be of anything, but they must use rulers and protractors to measure out accurate angles and shapes.
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