3 – 4

2-D and 3-D shapes


2-D and 3-D shapes

What to do with this activity?

In the Irish Primary School Maths Curriculum kids start learning about 2-D and 3-D shapes in the infant classes, from the age of 4. The D stands for Dimension. A 2-Dimensional shape can only be measured in two directions - width and length. A 3-Dimensional shape has width, length and also depth or height. Another way of saying it is that 2-D shapes are flat, while 3-D shapes are solid. 

Talk about 2-D and 3-D shapes that you see in real life. A circle drawn on paper is 2-D while a ball is a 3-D version of the shape. A box is 3-D while a rectangle is 2-D.

Show your child the picture above and see if they can match the 2-D and 3-D shapes. Enjoy this little online game together and sort the 2-D and 3-D shapes by clicking and dragging with the computer mouse. Play it together and show them how. 

  • Why am I doing this?

    Maths is more than working with numbers. It also consists of shape and space, patterns, measuring – things you do and come across in everyday life. When children begin to learn formal maths at school, they are building on a foundation of early numeracy learning from home. Even though they may not even be aware of it, parents and children engage in numeracy activity as part of their everyday lives.

  • How can I do more?

    Always teach numbers in a natural way through everyday activities and play. Count steps on a stairs, food in your shopping trolley or cows in a field.  Compare things when talking big or small, long or short, older or younger and faster or slower: “You carry the small box and I’ll take the big one.” Use the words – up and down, over and under, near or far, more or less when talking to your child. Talk about the shapes of everyday things. Ask your child what shapes they can see around the room they’re in.

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