Put your Thinking Crown on!

Nancy Balter is our math and science product developer here at Educational Insights. She was a math and science teacher for 11 years, and she’s also the mother of two young children. Here’s a great at-home-learning activity she plays with her kids at home!

My son is in preschool and not many kids learn their shapes before entering Kindergarten. To remedy this, I play a fun shapes game with my 3.5-year-old son. Not only does it help him learn shapes, but it also helps him with critical-thinking skills because he must use the process of elimination to deduce the answer. This game is a fun and simple, yet educationally valuable activity that will help younger kids get ahead of the game!

The description below is for a 4-player game (and therefore uses four shapes). If you’re playing with a different number of people, simply adjust the number of shapes.

You Will Need

  • 4 pieces of paper, approximately 1.5 inches on a side
  • a strip of paper, approximately 1.5 inches x 6 inches
  • a marker
  • tape

Before Playing

Use the marker to draw a different shape on each of the four pieces of paper.

Draw all four of those same shapes on the strip of paper.

How To Play

1. Using tape, stick a shape on each player’s forehead. A player should not see which shape he/she has

2. Allow players to look around and see what’s on everyone else’s forehead.

3. One at a time, ask each player to figure out what is on his/her own forehead. Players can consult the strip of paper with all four shapes. (Sometimes I help my son by asking him to tell me the shape on each person’s head and I cover that shape with my finger has he says it.


4. Once everyone has guessed what is on his/her forehead, players can pull off the piece of paper and take a look.

Change the game by changing the shapes (hexagon, crescent, rectangle, oval, etc.). You can also play this game with other attributes, such as colors, numbers, or letters.

If you want to get really fancy (and make your child feel like royalty), put the shapes onto crowns with Velcro®. You can use giant plastic gems for shapes. Make a scepter (with a Velcro® strip) to hold the four shapes. Here’s how mine looks:

In the photo you can see that I added some paper ‘gold’ coins to give to those who guess correctly. (However, I’ve generally found I don’t need those. My son is simply pleased to guess correctly, without needing the gold coin reward.)

I also put a strip of Velcro® on the back of the scepter which holds any extra shapes that I’m not using for that particular game.

We play this game every so often and it’s a lot of fun for the whole family. My son especially likes it when we include his 1.5-year-old sister in the game. Hilariously, she happily leaves the paper taped to her forehead while we play. Although if we use the crown version, she pulls the crown off her head—and then tries to pull the crowns off our heads too!

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