3-D Shapes: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Jessica Lowe
This lesson describes what 3-dimensional shapes are and how they are defined. It will also give plenty of pictures and hints on how to remember what each shape is called. Take a look to learn all about 3D shapes!

What Are 3-Dimensional Shapes?

Shapes that are 3-dimensional are all around us! Take a look around you right now. Most things in this world are made up of 3-dimensional shapes. Sometimes we call these 3-D shapes for short.

You may want to know where 3-dimensional shapes get their names before we get started. The word 3-dimensional basically refers to a shape that 'pops out' at you. More specifically, 3-dimensional shapes are not flat. They take up space with how wide they are, how high or long they are, and how deep they are from front to back.

A pencil, ice cube, and ball are all examples of 3-dimensional shapes. For example, you can wrap your fingers around the shape of a pencil in order to draw, and you can hold an ice cube and a ball too. While you could draw a 3-dimensional shape on paper (as you can see in our sample images below), a true 3-D shape can't be flattened.

What Makes Up a 3-Dimensional Shape?

Most 3-D shapes are made up of faces, edges, and vertices.

  • The face of a 3-D shape, is basically just the flat part of the shape.
  • The edge, is the straight line that separates the faces. Think of it as the edge of a cliff.
  • The vertices are the corners. However, when referring to only one corner, we use the word vertex.


Picture A
Picture A


The 3-D shape in Picture A has 6 faces, 12 edges, and 8 vertices.

It's important to remember that the curvy part of a 3-D shape is not considered a face. For example, take a look at the cylinder in Picture B.


Picture B
pic b


Let's Look At Some More!

Want to see some more 3-dimensional shapes? As you are looking at the picture, try to memorize their names while counting their faces, edges, and vertices.


Picture C
pic c


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