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Beautiful Stuff: Collect, Sort and Make Flat Arrangements


In this activity, you will:

  • Learn what makes an object 3-dimensional
  • Find and collect beautiful 3D objects in your home
  • Sort and arrange your “Beautiful Stuff”

Grade Levels

PreK – 2



Theme/ Big Idea

What makes something 3-dimensional?

Essential Question

What can you do with interesting objects?

  • Unit & Lessons
  • Video
  • Slide Deck

Materials and Tools

  • 3D objects found in your home
  • A piece of cardboard for a base –
  • this can be cut from any box
  • A basket, bag or box to store your collection
  • Optional: camera or paper and pencil to photograph or draw your arrangements


An object that has a top, a bottom and sides is called 3-dimensional, or 3D.

Collecting our Materials

Today, you will need to find and collect 3D objects from your home to work with. 

These may be any 3D items like: shells, buttons, screws and bolts, old keys, paper clips, rubber bands, popsicle sticks, stirring sticks, straws, spools, wood scraps, corks, bottle caps, lids, wire, string, yarn, ribbons, feathers, cotton balls, Q-Tips, tin foil, hair curlers, small cloth remnants, toilet cardboard rolls, egg cartons, empty aluminum cans or anything else you can find.

Step 1: Sort and Organize by Shape

What can you do with these interesting objects? What ideas do you have?

First, let’s sort and organize your objects.
What are some things you notice that are the same about your objects?

Some might be the same shape. What shapes can you find?

Circles vs. Rectangles

Step 2: Sort and Organize by Texture

Some objects have the same texture. Texture is a way to describe how something feels. What different textures do your objects have?


Step 3: Sort and Organize by Material

Some objects are made of the same material. The objects here are made of wood, plastic and metal. 

What materials are your objects made of? How can you tell?

Wood vs. Plastic vs. Metal

Step 4: Sort and Organize by Color

Many objects are the same color. What colors do you notice in your objects?

What other ways can you think of to sort your objects?

Step 5: Arrange Objects In a Line

Now let’s get your cardboard piece to use as a base.
A base is a home for your arrangement.

How can you arrange your objects in an interesting way?

You can make a long line with all of your objects. These objects lined up in a straight line, going from small to big. What other kinds of lines can you make with your objects?

Step 6: Arranging into a Shape

What shape do you see in this arrangement?
What else do you notice about how the objects
are arranged?

What kinds of shapes can you make by arranging
your objects?

Step 7: Arranging Patterns

How can you arrange your objects to make a pattern? A pattern is a design where a line, shape, color or texture repeats.

Step 8: Looking from Different Angles

Take a minute to look at your arrangement from a different angle.

What do you notice if you look at it up-close?

How does it change when you look at it from
the side?

Step 9: Reflection

Which is your favorite arrangement of your objects?

How did you arrange them?

How did you sort them before making this arrangement?

If you have a camera, you can take a picture of your favorite arrangement of objects. Or you can always draw it.

Step 10: Storing Your Collection

Remember to save your collection to try more ideas next time! You can keep your collection in a basket, bag or box.


Written by Andrea Burgay, Associate Director of Curriculum and Programs 
With support from Julie Applebaum, Senior Director and Sassy Kohlmeyer, Director of Early Childhood Programs 
Hasna Muhammad, Ed.D., Chair, Board of Directors, Studio in a School Association 
Alison Scott-Williams, President, Studio in a School NYC

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