We have a free printable just for you! It focuses on shapes - specifically a triangle, square, hexagon, and an octagon. But it's not just any ordinary printable. It accompanies a manipulative you probably have at home. POPSICLE STICKS! 

Manipulatives is a just a big, fancy word that educators use for hands-on learning. In mathematics, a manipulative is an object designed so that learners can perceive some mathematical concept by manilpulating it, hence its name. The use of manipulatives provides a way for children to learn concepts in a developmentally appropriate, experience-way. Plus, it's just plain fun! Here's what we did:

MATERIALS | This printable (just click, download, and print), popsicle sticks (21 total), and a pencil. 

In order for this manipulative to work for younger students (ages 5 and younger), you will need to color code the sticks. This allows them to sort the sticks by color first, then use the sticks to make the shape. For example, there are three sides to a triangle and three blue sticks; four sides / square / 4 orange sticks; six sides / hexagon / 6 yellow sticks; and 8 sides / octagon / 8 gray sticks. We're on spring break so we went above and beyond and painted our own sticks. Here's what we did:

MATERIALS | Acrylic paint in four colors (we chose blue, orange, gray, and yellow), paintbrush, paper plate, and 21 popsicle sticks. 

STEP ONE | Prep your work station. This step is purely optional, but since our white table ends up looking like a Pollock piece afterwards, I make sure to prep. 

STEP TWO | Divide your sticks into four piles (3, 4, 6, and 8 popsicle sticks for each shape). Choose a color, then start painting the sticks. Do this four times with a different color for each shape.

We tried to do an ombre effect with the sticks, but the lighter we painted the colors started to resemble each other. I quickly nixed that idea, however, this picture of Malachi painting with such focus and determination needed to get posted. Love him!

If you don't have time to paint, you could purchase painted popsicle sticks from the craft store or any Dollar Tree store. 

TA DA! A math manipulative that reinforces shapes in a hands-on way. Enjoy!