Craft stick polygons

Use popsicle sticks to teach children geometric shapes.

Learning Stages

By Candace Lindemann
Children's Author & Education Consultant

Candace Lindemann is a published children’s writer and educational consultant. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can also find Candace blogging at While Candace’s degrees prepared her for a career in education, she’s found that the best preparation for parenting is on-the-job training.

To teach equilateral polygons, form shapes from craft sticks.

  1. Using markers or paint, color the correct number of craft sticks for each shape (e.g., three green sticks for a triangle, four blue sticks for a square, etc.). 
  2. Label the craft sticks with the shape name, the number of sides, and a drawing of the shape to reinforce the learning.
  3. Give the sticks to your child to count out the craft sticks and assemble and name the shapes. (Alternatively, use the blank sides for exploration and assessing the concepts. Children can count the sides and guess what shape they will form.)

Later, you can extend the activity using the four craft sticks of the square to discuss the square as a subset of the shapes parallelograms (opposite sides are parallel), rhombuses (opposite sides are parallel and all sides are equal), and rectangles (opposite sides are parallel, opposite sides are equal, and all angles are right angles). All squares also fit the definition of these three shapes.