3D shapes

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By Judith Harriesteacher

original article published Nov 2012

Explore activities using 3D shapes involving painting, printing, modelling, building with clay and plasticene, songs and rhymes.


Shape search

Show the children lots of models of 3D shapes and let them handle them so they are familiar with the look and feel of the solid shapes. Help them to choose a shape to look for such as cylinder, sphere, cube or cone and take the children on a solid shape search. Look all round your setting inside and outside. Point out examples such as chimney pots, post boxes, dust bins, buildings, and so on.

Rain sticks

Show children some real rain sticks traditionally made in South America from hollow cactuses or dried plants. Talk about the cylinder shape.
  • Make a collection of long cardboard tubes such as poster tubes or inside of aluminium foil tubes.
  • Push some cocktail sticks or tooth picks into the tube to make obstacles for the seeds to fall against.
  • Fill with a handful of dry rice or lentils.
  • Stop the ends by covering with a plastic cap or circle of fabric secured with glue or a tight elastic band.
  • Decorate the outside of the tube.
  • Let children make rain sound effects with their rain sticks and sing ‘I hear thunder’.
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