Three-dimensional( or 3-D) is a solid or hollow shape. A flat surface of a 3-D shape is called a face.
There are tons of 3-D shapes but we are talking about the most basic ones: cube, sphere, cone, cylinder and prism.
Children do their best learning from experience. So let's provide them with opportunities to explore 3-D shapes in everyday life and through play.
- The first and easiest would be playing with blocks - the chunky wooden ones. When building together point out different 3-D shapes, name them. Later on ask your child to pass you a cube, a cone, a cylinder, etc. Even though they do not know how and why to classify them according their characteristics yet, they recognize how they look already. That's a step up.
- When walking/ driving/ playing point out the objects that have a shape that your child is familiar with already. For example, construction cone, soda cans, soccer ball.
- Show a difference between 2-D and 3-D. Cut out a coupon for a cereal box - that's 2-D, it's flat. then, show the same box of cereal from your pantry - that's 3-D. Examples are endless.
- Now your child is ready for theory. Find a colorful children's book and read it together putting emphasis on the illustrations and characteristics of 3-D shapes. How many faces does this shape have? What shape are they? Are there faces of a different shape? Is there a point?
- To re enforce the theory try building your own 3-D shapes. You'll need toothpicks and modeling clay/play dough. First, make balls out of your clay. They will be connectors for the corners of your 3-D shapes. It should look like. Make a cube, a pyramid, a house(cube+pyramid), prisms.
- Instead of clay you can use marshmallows, and instead of toothpicks kabob bamboo sticks.
- Next you can talk about nets. A net is a shape that a 3-D shape would make if it were flat. This is a website that lets you print out nets for free: http://www.senteacher.org/Worksheet/12/Nets.xhtml.
- Try making 3-D shapes out of them first; then, ask your child to guess what shape a net would make if he/she folded it together.
Try it and you'll be surprised how fast your little one learned his/her 3-D shapes.