Big Body Shapes – Research-Backed At-Home Activities – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Big Body Shapes

Bring learning off the page and onto the floor! In this activity, children use their whole bodies to explore the properties of squares, triangles, rectangles and more.

Learning Goals

  • Come up with Ideas and Try them out
  • Communicate Thinking

Materials Needed

  • Tape or chalk
  • Large stones, bean bags, or similar objects (optional)
  • Full-length mirrors (optional)


  • To start, use the tape or chalk to draw shapes on the ground. Make sure to draw various types of each shape, such as one triangle where the sides are different lengths and another triangle where all the sides are the same length.
  • If you want, you can place a stone or similar object at each point or corner of a shape. If you’re using mirrors, set them up in an open space near where you’ve made your shapes.
  • Give your child an explanation of the shapes you’ve made for them to explore, using examples from books or photos from the real world. Introduce the terms side and point when describing the shapes. For example, “A triangle has three sides and three points.”
  • Let your child walk around the taped shape, and have them pause at the points. Ask them what they notice about each shape. For example, “How do you know it’s a triangle?” Or, “What’s the same about each shape? What’s different about each shape?”
  • When your child is done exploring the shapes on the ground, they can use their body to make shapes in the mirror, or by mirroring another person. Have them try different ways to make a triangle, rectangle, or square with their bodies.

Tips for Adults

  • Don’t be shy of introducing complex words and shapes like pentagon, hexagon, and trapezoid. 
  • If children cannot make a certain shape on their own, ask how they might do it with an adult or sibling or by using props you have around the house.
  • Try extending with a game of “shape charades”! Have one person act out the shape with their body and the other person guess what it is.
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