One of the most important geometry topics covered in middle school math is three-dimensional shapes and their nets. There’s a lot to learn regarding 3D shapes-vocabulary, measurements, angles, surface area and volume, etc.

But it has to start with a basic understanding of the different shapes, and what makes them different from each other, as well as two-dimensional shapes. If you’d like to start by creating these (and more) shapes with your kids, try this free set of foldable nets! Let your kids color and decorate them before folding them up! 🙂

If your elementary kids are interested in learning about shapes and want to explore 3D shapes in the world around them, this FREE activity pack is for you!

This download includes printable shape cards (including cylinder, cone, cube, pyramid (square based) and rectangular prism) that you can use for all sorts of games. For each shape, there is a picture card, a word card, as well as the net of that shape. If you have younger ones, however, you could exclude the nets, and just let them practice with the shapes and shape words!

You could use these cards in a variety of ways, but also included in this download are three different games to play (these could be done with or without the net cards, depending on your students).

## Game 1: Memory Matching Game

Simply print on card stock and laminate (for durability), mix all the cards up and place face down in rows. Then take turns flipping over 2 or 3 cards (depending on whether or not you’ve included the nets) to try and find a match. A match consists of a picture card, word card and net card. If a match is found, that player gets to keep the match. Play continues until all the matches are found. Player with the most matches wins!

## Game 2: Pattern Cards

Also included in this download are 20 pattern cards. The 10 green cards are easy, and the 10 red cards are a little harder (and include nets).

Obviously these could be used as an independent, quiet activity. The child would just choose a pattern card, and then find the correct cards needed to complete the pattern (3 for the easy cards and 4 for the harder cards).

But you could also play with two players: Each player chooses a pattern card to complete. All the shape cards are shuffled and placed face down in a pile. Players take turns drawing a card from the deck to try and complete their pattern. If a card is drawn that they don’t need, it simply gets put back in the bottom of the pile. The player who correctly completes their pattern first wins!

## Game 3: 3D Shape Search

Also included in the download are recording pages for finding shapes in real life. Again, all the cards are shuffled and placed in a deck face down. Players take turns drawing cards from the deck. They then have to find an example of that shape in real life and draw a picture on their recording sheet. If they pick a shape that they already found, it is the next players turn, or they can use that shape for their “free space.” The first player to complete their page will all the shapes wins!

I hope you will find this resource to be fun and useful for not only teaching shapes, but discovering math in the world around you!

If you would like this FREE printable pack, which includes instructions for each of these games, as well as 45 shape cards (and a few blank cards if you’d like to add some other shapes to it), 20 pattern cards and 3 Shape Search recording pages, simply click the link below!

And if you’re looking for more practice with 3D shapes and their nets, check out these free worksheets!

Want some fun math stories to explore 3D shapes even more? Try one of these:

Captain Invincible and the Space Shapes” by Stuart J. Murphy

Make a Wish, Albert! ” by Lori Houran {coming August 1}

Cubes, Cones, Cylinders, & Spheres” by Tana Hoban {real life pictures}

And most of all, have fun!

*Please Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and help support the work of this site. Thanks for understanding! Feel free to read our full disclosure here.*

1. Hi there, thank you so much for offering this activity pack for free! I have shapes for my boys and this pack will be a great accompaniment! Silly question – what is a “net card?” Thanks, Laura

1. Hi Laura! You’re welcome! I hope you guys have fun with it! And that’s not a silly question at all!! The “net” of a 3d shape is what it looks like “unfolded” and laid flat. So the cards in the second picture (next to “Game 2”) are the nets of a cone and a cube. I hope that helps! (Side note, understanding the net is important for building visual and spacial reasoning, and builds a foundation for understanding surface area later on).

2. Ann says:

Thank you!! I was looking for something hands on for beginning our study of geometry. I look forward to using all your materials next week with my 4th graders here in Poland. 🙂

1. That’s fantastic! I hope they enjoyed it! 🙂