See, Say, and Touch Spheres and Circles

Use a School Readiness Activity to provide early mathematical thinking experiences for preschool children that will prepare them to do well in the early grades.
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See, Say, and Touch Spheres and Circles

Please Note: this material was created for use in a classroom, but can be easily modified for homeschooling use.


  • To experience the concept of spheres and circles
  • To identify circles (2-D) and spheres (3-D)
  • To talk about shapes

Spheres or balls of different sizes and colors; circles of different sizes and colors; construction paper, glue; chalk or masking tape circle on the floor; circle shaped objects such as clock, plate; Oonga Boonga

shapes     spheres
balls circles
like alike

Literature Suggestion
Read Oonga Boonga by Frieda Wishinsky. As you read and show the illustrations, ask children to look for round things. (Examples: baby rattle, Os in the title, baby pillow, teething ring, picture frame, etc.) Encourage children to look for more round things in the book when they have free time.

Ask children to walk around the masking-tape circle, notice that it is round, and then sit on it. Hold up paper circles in different sizes and colors and be sure that children know that a circle is a shape. Ask children to see and name the shapes, such as red circle and brown circle. Ask children to look around the room and notice any other circles in the room.


  • Have children sit in a circle for a game of "See, Touch, and Say." Show children some different sized balls and tell them that they are called spheres. Pass them around for children to see and touch. As they touch and feel a ball, have them say the word sphere. Help children understand that size or color does not matter.
  • Hold up a circle and pass it around for children to see and touch. When children get the circle, they feel it and say the word circle. Help children understand that a circle is a circle no matter what its size or color.
  • Next ask children to talk about how the sphere and circle are alike and how they are different. Put the circles and spheres where children can touch them again. (Children will be able to tell you that both circles and spheres are round. They will be able to tell you that the circle is flat. Children may say that the sphere is big or fat. Respond by saying, "Yes, the sphere takes up space."
At art time, have children touch and move the assortment of paper circles around a piece of construction paper and then glue them down to make circle designs or circle people.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child can identify a ball as a sphere and a circle shape as a circle.
  • In Process - Child can identify a circle, but has difficulty identifying a sphere.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet identify a circle or a sphere.
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