Tuesday, September 27, 2011


What do you do when your child has already had all the geometric solids presentations but is forgetting their names? The most natural thing to do is to mention these shapes as you see them pop up in your day-to-day living. I, however, never find myself remembering to say things like "Oh! Look! A triangular-based pyramid!" as often as I would like (bad Mommy!). An activity we like to do every once in a while to keep things fresh is a geometric solid scavenger hunt.

I LOVE this series on 3-D shapes by Nathan Olson. There is a separate book for all of the shapes represented by the Montessori geometric solids.

The boys and I read the book together. Then, we search for that shape in our box of geometric solids and explore its properties (using the available faces if applicable). Afterward, I send them off to search for the items of that shape that I have "hidden" all over the house (if you can call placing a Rubik's cube on top of the piano "hiding" it). I haven't really bought anything in particular for these activities. I find the book to be particularly helpful when I'm standing in the house with my mouth hanging open while trying to remember what we might have that is "a pyramid" or think of a sphere that doesn't come out of our bin of balls. I do like to have a box of ice cream cones and a party hat or two around before we have a "cone" day however. It's no fun to search for cones if someone has eaten all the cones a couple weeks prior.

Today I hid 14 cubes and the boys came up with quite a few more during their search. Afterward the boys always seem to need some time to explore their finds. After seeing one pictured in our "cubes" book I rescued the jack-in-the-box from the Goodwill bin. They have been playing with that thing on and off all day now. I guess it wasn't ready for Goodwill after all.

Me Too has always been fascinated with Rubik's cubes.

Apparently all that time building the pink tower was not wasted...

When he was unable to build his first tower any taller even from his perch on top of a stool, Kal-El decided to build several towers. When he was done he declared that it looked like "downtown."

Me Too spotted the jack-in-the-box stacked in the middle of a tower and got the idea to use it as a catapult.

After I took this picture I discouraged them from launching the various geometric solids across the room and suggested they use some of the smaller cubes such as the alphabet block, lettered bead, or the dice.

They spent a long time later exploring the jack-in-the-box. They wanted to know how and why it pops open. I explained about the spring and the latch. They wound the box several times with the lid open until they had seen the latch release enough times to understand. After they found the catch on the lid they wound it some more with the lid shut to watch the latch leave the catch.

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  1. Cute- we used to go on architecture walks. Even in our small town, downtown there were several churches with great examples. Now we have a house around the corner with many conical tailored trees.

  2. Great idea! I love that you have found a way to make those geometric soilds fun! My girls just dont like them! Maybe this will help! Thanks for sharing!