Young children learn mathematical concepts best through hands-on activities. Help your students learn about shapes by making a sweet, healthy snack together.
Note: Warn students to be careful with the plastic knives and bamboo skewers. Depending on the age of the children, you may want to have an adult cut the fruit into pieces.
What You Need
- Any type of fresh or canned fruit, such as grapes, apples, orange sections, bananas, pears, or pineapple chunks
- Plastic knives
- Small bowls
- Paper plates
- Bamboo skewers
What You Do Together
- First, cut the fruit into a variety of shapes. Your students can help by peeling and slicing a banana, cutting an apple into cubes, pulling grapes off their stems, or pouring out the canned fruits.
- Together, sort the fruits into separate bowls and have a taste test. Talk about the different flavors and textures. Which fruit do your students like most? Least? Which are your favorites? Then sort the contents of the bowls into shape categories. Which are circles? Squares? Other shapes? Compare the shapes of the cut fruit with their original shapes.
- Slide the fruit shapes onto bamboo skewers to create different patterns. As you do so, talk about the kinds and number of shapes you're each using and patterns you're creating. Cut new shapes from the fruits, such as half circles from banana slices or grapes, as you go.
- Enjoy your snack together. Another time, try making vegetable kebabs with carrots, celery, green peppers, or other favorite vegetables. With any luck, your students will love these, too!
More Ways to Learn
Shape a game. Together, draw shape patterns on index cards. For example, on one card, draw two circles and two squares. Then draw matching shapes on construction paper. Ask children to help them out and match the cutouts to the game cards. Later, suggest that they find small items around the classroom to match to the card patterns.
Categorize your kitchen. Ask children to help you sort the food in your cabinets or pantry. Let them group items in each category — boxes, canned goods, spices — by shape and size. Then create a system together for organizing them.
A Spanish Version of this activity is also available.