I introduced geometric solids to my 4-year old for the first time last week. I decided to start with 5 solids and presented them in a basket along with a printed card that showed an image of the solid and the name of the solid. I got these cards from an e-book called Montessori at Home! A Complete Guide to Doing Montessori Early Learning Activities at Home with 3-6 Year Old Children by John Bowman.
First, I showed WJ the basket and told him we were going to learn about geometric solids. Then I pointed to each geometric solid one by one, and said its name. Then I had WJ pick up each solid and place the solid on the table.
The sphere kept rolling off the table but WJ finally got it to stay. Traditional Montessori geometric solids come with bases for the solids. Now I understand why!
Once all of the solids were on the table, I had WJ place the corresponding card in front of each solid. He read the names as he did this. We repeated the names several times since they are not easy words for a 4-year old to say! But he loved trying to say the names and kept repeating them on his own.
Next, it was time to start exploring the solids by touch. I had WJ close his eyes and I handed him each solid and told him to feel it and to describe to me what he felt. WJ told me if the solid had sides or was curved, if it had a point or was smooth, and he also tried to count the number of sides.
Then I had him guess which solid he was holding. After he guessed, I had him open his eyes and then I said the name of the solid he was holding.
I then let WJ have some fun just exploring the solids. He enjoyed playing with the solids and told me the cone was a birthday hat and the sphere was a ball.
Once he was done exploring, I brought out a dry erase marker and told him we would count the number of sides on the solids and then mark each side with a number.
I did the first one and put numerals on the rectangular prism. He marked the others with dots to identify the number of sides.
When we were done counting sides, I asked him which solids would roll. Then I asked him to roll them for me. We already knew that the sphere rolled from our earlier experience of trying to keep it on the table but he also learned how the cone could roll or it could stay still depending on how you placed it on the table.
For our next activity, we brought the solids to the floor and WJ was amused for several minutes by exploring the solids by touch and by just looking at them individually and in a group.
For our last activity, I handed WJ a piece of paper with the name of a geometric solid and had him match it up to the solid on the ground. He didn’t have any problems with this and happily matched them up while saying the name of the solid.
We used the solids from Learning Resources shown below. Although these plastic solids are not the best resource for learning about the relative weights of solids, which is a great Montessori activity if you’re using wooden solids, they are a great, inexpensive option for teaching basic geometric solids to kids.
This set includes 10 geometric solids so I’m looking forward to presenting additional solids to WJ as we progress in our geometric solid learning.