### Exploring Shape

Young children begin to notice and show an interest in shapes. Therefore, in order to draw their conscious attention to shapes in the environment and give them shapes to look at, touch, and feel, a geometric cabinet is provided which containes several drawers - each containing a group of wooden cut-out shapes placed in corresponding insets. One drawer contains circles, another drawer contains rectangles, another contains triangles, another contains polygons, etc..

Children like to explore the nature of shapes. They take them out of a drawer and they like to hold the shapes and trace their edges. They then place them back into the corresponding inset in the drawer. In the beginning, so as not to overwhelm the child with too many shapes, an adult takes shapes out of the drawers that contain six shapes each, and places three contrasting shapes in a presentation tray. The children then explore the three shapes provided in the presentation tray.

The children also like to take all the shapes out of a drawer, and then try to place them back into their corresponding inset. This serves as a simple puzzle for the children. It draws their attention to the attributes of each given shape as the children have to match the shape to the corresponding inset.

After working with wooden cut-outs of the shapes, children like to match the wooden shapes to corresponding drawings on cards.

The first set of cards contains filled in replicas of each shape. The child simply sets a wooden shape on top of the corresponding matching graphic.

The second set of cards contains thick outline drawings of the shapes. In this case, the drawing is more abstract in nature. Each cards only shows the outline of a shape and children find it harder to match the solid wooden shape to the corresponding outline drawing.

The third set of cards provides only a thin outline drawing of each shape. This provides the most difficult task for the child.

In addition to exploring two dimensional figures, children love to pick up and feel the weight and dimension of 3 dimensional solids. Therefore, it is beneficial to provide children a set of all the regular geometrical solids including the five platonian solids (discovered by Plato), the regular curved figures, and prisms and pyramids.

Children like to handle the solids. In the picture to the left, the child is placing each figure on a two dimensional representation of its base.