I spent years using straws with bendy pipe cleaners at the corners to make 3D shapes during my geometry unit because that is what the book said to do. I hated them! They fell apart and were just really difficult for my kids' little fingers to work with. Then I had an idea! GUMDROPS and toothpicks! They are sturdy and we refer to the candy as VERTICES because we learn about points. It's so easy to count how many vertices there are! I've never looked back. The kids LOVE them. They can build and rebuild using the same ones. They can carry them around the room to show their friends! They can leave them up for a week in a shape museum. Of course their favorite thing about them is that they can eat them! (Notice how there are no red ones! :)
You can also use the GUMDROPS for 2d shapes. That shows the kiddos how to build sides. You can teach about a vertex, side, and face! .