Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
and Home Child Care Providers

CME Group Community Foundation



Slide, Flip, and Turn

Children will recognize and apply slides, flips and turns using wooden pattern blocks.  

Content Area Standard Target
  • Geometry
  • Apply transformations and use symmetry to analyze mathematical situations
  • Recognize and apply slides, flips, and turns to shapes
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
  • Giant wooden pattern blocks
  • Tag board sheets (one for each child)


Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
  1. Sit in a circle with the children.
  2. Say: "We are going to play a game where we move our hands while we sing."
  3. Sing: (To the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)

    This is the way we slide our hands (keeping hands straight, slide to the right, then to the left, palms forward), slide our hands, slide our hands
    This is the way we slide our hands, side to side
    Continue with: flip our hands front to back (hold palms up then bend forward to show back of hand)
    End with: turn our hands to move them around (rotate your hand from side to side as if waving with a straight hand)

  4. Say: "Now we are going to play this game with some shapes!"
Engage the children Engage the Children
  1. Cut tag board sheets in half.  Holding the pieces horizontally, draw a black line in the middle of the board from one end to the other.
  2. Ask the children to sit in a circle.
  3. Give one piece of tag board to each child.
  4. Give a large triangle shape (from the giant wooden pattern blocks) to each child.
  5. Ask the children to place their triangle block pointy side up onto the line on the tag board.
  6. Say: "We are going to sing our song with the triangles and have them move like our hands did."
  7. Say: "First we are going to slide our triangles back and forth."
  8. Sing and demonstrate: This is the way we slide the triangle, slide the triangle, slide the triangle, This is the way we slide the triangle, back and forth (demonstrate moving the triangle from side to side on the line, keeping the triangle on the line while sliding)
  9. Say: "Now we are going to flip our triangles!"
  10. Sing and demonstrate: This is the way we flip our triangles, front to back (continue with song) Demonstrate flipping the triangle over the line so the point is down while you sing this verse.
  11. Say: "Now we are going to turn our triangles!"
  12. Sing and demonstrate: This is the way we turn our triangles to move them around!  Demonstrate turning or rotating the triangle around the line so the point moves from facing up to facing to the side to facing down (while staying flat on the tag board) while you sing this last verse.
Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
  • Slide – To move an item in any direction without rotating it
  • Flip – To turn over
  • Turn – To rotate around a point

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Make adaptations Make Adaptations

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Pick up the shapes and move them to the music.


Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Try this with other shapes.
  • Trace their shapes after each movement.


Home child care providers may:

  • Have the children hold the shape and move it in space with the song following directions.


Home child care providers may:

  • Provide other shapes from the block set and repeat the song.
  • Give the children crayons or markers to trace around their shape when it slides, flips and turns.


Books Books
  • Slides, Flips and Turns (My Path to Math) by Claire Piddock (Crabtree Publishing, 2010)
  • The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns (New York: Scholastic, 2008)
  • Circus Shapes by Stuart Murphy (New York: HarperCollins, 1997)
  • Shapes (Math Counts) by Henry Pluckrose (Chicago, IL: Children’s Press, 1995)
Music and movement Music and Movement


Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
  • Sing “This is the way we slide, flip and turn” using dolls and stuffed animals.  Dolls have a front that’s distinctly different from their back so it might be easier to understand the “flip” motion.
  • Pick up leaves on an outdoor walk.  Bring them in to do slide, flip and turn on the tag board pieces.


Explore links Web Resources




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