Kiddie Geometry: Nail
Today's Snack: Your child will love learning about the
geometric shape known as the "cube" if you fill an ice-cube tray with yogurt
and some sliced fruit, freeze halfway, push popsicle sticks in each
compartment, and let freeze completely. Fruit Yogurt Pops will come in the
shape of cubes. Who knew math could be so tasty?
scrap square or rectangle of wooden board such as a 2x4
or colored elastic bands
If you have time, combine this activity with a trip to the
hardware store to learn about all the different kinds of nails. Point out the
difference between a nail and a screw, for example, and explain why the lengths
and heads of the different fasteners are so different. Ask a clerk if you don't
Then purchase a number of nails for this project. You can do
some elementary multiplication and show your child how it works. If you
purchase, for example, 20 nails at 7 cents apiece, show your child how the bill
comes to $1.40, plus tax.
If you don't have a piece of scrap wood around the house, or
can't borrow or scrounge one, you can have a piece cut for you at the hardware
store or a lumberyard. Make sure it's sturdy and thick.
Let your child watch you from a safe distance as you hammer
nails into the sturdy piece of board. Space them one, two or three inches
apart. Hammer them in a pattern, or use rows or circles. Your child will be
using them to create designs.
Make sure the nails penetrate only the top side of the
board, and aren't dangerously sticking out of the bottom. Each nail should
stick up from the board a half-inch or so. Make sure to put away the hammer and
excess nails to avoid accidents.
Then the child can create designs by wrapping and rewrapping
string, yarn or colored elastic bands around the nails.
This is a good way to practice simple geometry. Start giving
your child vocabulary words such as square,
rectangle, triangle, hexagon, octagon, parallelogram, and so forth. You can demonstrate how to form each
geometric shape with string or rubber bands, and then let your child copy each