Geometry & Spatial Sense

Geometry & Spatial Sense is more than just learning basic shapes.  During the preschool years, children can learn many facets of geometry such as 2D & 3D shape names, the vocabulary needed to describe location, and the ability to take one shape and change it into another by adding or subtracting from the shape (transformation).  Geometry helps children to observe the world more closely. 

 In order for children to understand shapes, they must have plenty of opportunity to explore them through drawing and manipulation. Educators help by teaching the vocabulary that explains the formation of shapes such as angles, corners, and faces.   Children should begin to be able to find shapes in the environment and also draw simple shapes from memory. 

Spatial Sense includes vocabulary such as under, over, left, right, underneath, and on top of.   As children begin to manipulate shapes by turning, flipping, and fitting together they learn to create shapes and follow simple illustrated instructions.


Teach vocabulary including, cube, cylinder, halves, curves, round, angle, straight edge, and plane.

Allow children to use puzzles, foam shapes, blocks, 2D & 3D shapes, and geo-boards.

Show the children that a shape is still a shape no matter what the orientation is.

Encourage all children in the room to use the block center regularly (I have made girls only days, and even assigned children to a short block times).

Label your shelves with the shapes of the blocks and other items in the room.

Show the children how they can combine blocks together to make a new shape (2 square blocks laid side-by-side form a rectangle).

Play games like this is a cube, this is not a cube.

When the children are doing puzzles, use words such as flip, turn, and slide.

Challenge your children to map-making exercises and map reading skills.  (Get a relator map and label where each child lives, ask them to draw their bedroom).

Go for shape walks.

Look for round objects.

Make an obstacle course using words such as, under, over, around, beside, on top, and underneath.

Sort shapes by type and size.

Collect many different containers with lids for the children to match.

Talk about the similarities and differences of shapes.  (These two shapes both have straight lines but this one has 2 short and 2 long while this one has 4 all equal).

Do riddles or play I Spy.  (I Spy with My little Eye something that is a square and has four legs underneath it).

Draw a shape on a piece of paper.  How many counting bears can you fit in the shape?

Cut out stencils of shapes from a manila file folder.  Show the children how to trace around it and then cut out their own shapes.

Give each child a hunk to play dough and play Transformation.  Ask them to make a ball, then say “transformation” and name another shape for them to make.

Use play dough and straws to build shapes.

Bring in boxes large enough for the children to climb in and out of.

Build a simple block structure.  Take a picture of it and put it in the block center for the children to read the ‘instructions to build’.

Encourage art using shape collaging (can you build a fire truck using these shapes?).

Make Shape Books. Have each child draw something from this triangle. At the top of the page write; ________ triangle is a _______. Try making a square and circle book also.
Cut the shapes from cardboard and let the children use to go on shape walks.
cut out the shapes and give each child one or two. Tell them that you are going on a scavenger hunt and they must find an object that is the same as their card. Have them bring the objects to you and name the shapes they found.
Use the dogs below to play, Where is That Dog? Ask a child to take a dog and place it under the dog house, over the dog house, on top of the house, behind, in, in front, beside, next to, above, and below. The children can take turns moving their dogs into different positions.