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Teaching Preschoolers About Triangles

written by: Jan Young • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 8/29/2012

Teaching about shapes is an important part of the preschool curriculum. This beginning math skill also helps children to learn about the concept of same and different. There is suggested reading, words to a song about triangles, and other ideas to use as you move your students forward.

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    Triangle Picture Books

    Picture books are a great way to introduce concepts to preschool students. If you're teaching shapes, books offer a wonderful way to show what is a triangle for preschool kids.

    Before reading the book, draw a picture of a triangle on a white board or show a large triangle shape and discuss the properties of the shape. You can discuss the number of sides it has, the number of angles, and what other things the triangle resembles. Then, use one or more of the following books to reinforce the concept of what is a triangle for preschool kids in your classroom, while showing a Triangles Around Town by Olson and Nathan variety of examples of the shape.

    • Triangles Around Town, by Nathan Olson

    This nonfiction selection includes photographs of triangles in a city setting accompanied by simple text.

    • Party of Three: a Book About Triangles, by Christianne C. Jones and illustrated by Ronnie Rooney

    Read this fiction story for a birthday party full of triangles for students to identify.

    • Triangles, by Sarah Schuette

    This nonfiction book shows children triangles in familiar objects such as clothing, toys, and food.

    • The Wing on a Flea: a Book About Shapes, by Ed Emberley

    This classic picture book about shapes shows different shapes in everyday life and is accompanied by rhyming text.

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    Triangle Songs and Games

    Songs and rhymes are a perfect way to reinforce what is being taught in the preschool classroom. For triangles, students can sing Wing on a Flea by Ed Emberley and count along with this song, set to the tune of "Are You Sleeping." Use a triangle shape with the sides numbered to further illustrate the characteristics of triangles.

    Triangle Characteristics Song

    Triangles have three sides

    Triangles have three sides

    One, two, three

    One, two, three

    Count them with me

    Count them with me

    One, two, three

    One, two, three

    Repeat with: "Triangles have three angles"...

    Then, sing the song this way while children search for triangles in the classroom:

    Can you find a triangle?

    Can you find a triangle?

    One, two, three

    One, two, three

    Count the sides with me

    Count the sides with me

    One, two, three

    One, two, three

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    Triangle Crafts

    Students can continue to practice and review what they know about triangles by completing craft projects involving triangles. One option is to create a triangle collage. Pass out a variety of magazines and allow children to cut out all of the pictures of triangles that they find. Paste these triangles onto sheets of construction paper and display them around the classroom or on a bulletin board so children can see all the ways that triangles can be found.

    Another open-ended activity that would allow children to explore triangles would be to give each child (or group of children) a selection of different colors and sizes of construction paper triangles. Have the children use glue sticks to glue their triangles to down to a large sheet of construction paper to create a triangle animal of their choice. Ask each child to tell what animal he or she made and label their pictures accordingly.

    Shapes are everywhere around us and these activities allow the chance to learn what is a triangle for preschool kids. Books, music, and art help to reinforce the shape while giving time for extra practice.