Fun shape activities for preschool are an important part of how young children gain vocabulary and recognize the specific shapes they see in their everyday play. Shapes are everywhere in our environment and once we begin chatting with our kids about them, shape awareness explodes. Check out this list of my favorite shape activities for preschoolers and beyond!
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What activities can you do with shapes?
Shapes are everywhere! And even though young kids are exposed to shapes daily, in and out of the house, it is important to start talking and engaging with these shapes. If you want ideas to help your preschooler learn about different shapes, I’m here to help! In this article, I will share my favorite 2-D and 3-D shape activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten students.
As your preschooler works on developing their shape awareness and recognition, they will become more confident. But remember, as always, keep their learning fun!
2-D shape activities
There are so many different ways to play, sort, build, and learn with shapes using these 2-D preschool shape activities for preschoolers!
Color & Shape Match: a Toddler Math Activity
A fun and simple color and shape-matching activity that introduces early math concepts right on your refrigerator!
Craft Stick Shape Match
Build fine motor skills, sorting, matching, and shape recognition by using an empty egg carton and a stack of either craft sticks or popsicle sticks.
Cutting Lines; Preschool Scissor Practice
Follow this simple activity to help your preschooler improve their fine motor cutting skills and shape knowledge.
Gruffalo-Themed Shape Animals (The Educators’ Spin On It)
Create cute and silly simple shape animals using construction paper and glue.
Magnetic Tile Sticker Puzzle
Stickers and puzzles are such a fun way to mix up and challenge your preschooler’s shape learning – this activity combines both!
Make a Tortilla Shape Snack (Pre-K Pages)
Your toddler will love making their own snack while learning with this yummy and fun activity.
Mega Bloks Tetris
Watch your preschooler build, puzzle, think, and play with this creative block activity.
Mystery Shapes; a Fine Motor Activity
This shape idea combines counting, drawing, shape recognition, and a little mystery all in one! Your child will stay engaged while learning and strengthening their fine motor skills.
Sticky Summer Suncatcher
A bright and vibrant art activity that is sure to add a little sunshine to your child’s day! Create beautiful suncatchers out of various shapes of tissue paper to brighten your space.
Shape Graph for Preschool
Another simple yet stimulating shape-sorting activity that can be set up in less than a minute!
Shape People; a Toddler Counting Activity
Draw simple silly shape figures for your toddler to decorate with sticker eyes as they match and count.
Shape Pictures – A Fun Shape Activity for Preschoolers
Create simple, colorful shapes that mimic shapes found in the Mouse Shapes book by Ellen Stoll Walsh.
Sorting by Shapes
This sorting shapes activity is about as simple as it gets, but it will keep your preschoolers busy and engaged as they find shapes around your house in everyday life.
Watercolor Shape Painting
Integrate painting, creativity, and shapes with this easy and colorful watercolor shape painting activity.
3-D shape activities
From messy shaving cream to playing shape games, there are so many simple and fun ways to introduce 3-D shape activities to preschoolers and older kids too!
3-D Bubble Shapes Activity (Little Bins Little Hands)
A great activity for a sunny day where your child will build 3-D bubble wands to create incredible 3-D bubble shapes!
Kindergarten Shape Build
One of my favorite hands-on activities for older children! This fun STEM activity challenges their creativity to build 3-D shapes using various building materials.
3-D Shape Dig
A hands-on shape activity that involves curiosity, motivation, and surprise!
3-D Shapes Graphing Game (Gift of Curiosity)
Introduce graphing, sorting, and organizing to your preschooler with this simple 3-D shape game.
3-D and 2-D Shape Sorting Activity for Kids (What Do We Do All Day?)
Another very fun way to simply sort and organize 3-D shapes using all those wooden blocks you have lying around.
Shapes & Shaving Cream
Let your little learners build 3-D shapes, towers, and buildings with this messy sensory play activity, using shaving cream (as glue) and foam building blocks.
DIY Tinker Toys (Hands on As We Grow)
Use marshmallows and straws to create large 3-D shapes.
Shape book list
Incorporating shape books for preschoolers into your home library is also another win! Here are some of my favorite books about shapes that my kids and I have loved reading for years!
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This classic book about shapes will not disappoint. It inspired this creative preschool shape activity.
Square (The Shapes Trilogy)
Curious how a square spends his day? You will now with this genius book about cubes and squares. Simplistic delight!
In the Wild Paint by Sticker
This is a great sticker book to encourage shape building to create a design.
How to introduce shapes
Shape activities for preschool need to be hands-on and spark curiosity. Introduce shapes to your preschoolers by helping them to identify these basic shapes:
There is so much to learn and know about shapes. But let’s keep that for high school geometry class. Shape learning for preschoolers should be kept simple. Learning is always more fun when it is play-based. As your toddler asks questions, mention terms such as sides and vertices without expecting mastery.
Learning how to recognize and name shapes teaches preschoolers so many essential learning concepts:
- Early math skills and concepts
- Language and vocabulary
- Letter recognition
- Number recognition
- Organization skills
- Sorting skills
- Spatial awareness
Why teaching shapes is important
Early exposure to shape recognition is important because real objects are made up of shapes in our environment and surroundings. Shapes help to build a strong foundation for early literacy and math skills.
Once your baby starts growing into toddlerhood, they suddenly become more curious and aware of their surroundings. As they navigate the world around them, they begin to familiarize themselves with the landmarks around their house (like that coffee table in the middle of your living room that they keep bumping into, which you’ve been meaning to find a new spot for, wink wink) by labeling these everyday objects by shape names. This is the beginning of shape awareness!
More shape activities
- 12 Sticker Activities
- 50 Math Activities for Preschoolers
- 101+ Preschooler Activities
- Play Ideas for Magnetic Tiles
- Stem Toys for Kids
Shapes are all around us. Introducing and teaching your preschooler about shapes is simple, fun, and a great way to keep your child engaged. Whether you simply talk about the shapes you see at the playground or spend a few minutes setting up an activity, shapes are an easy concept to involve your preschooler in with their surroundings. Try out some shape activities for preschoolers to get them excited about learning!
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- Notice a shift in self-confidence and self-regulation as you and your child implement what you practice.
FAQ for teaching shapes
It’s never too soon to start talking to your toddler or preschooler about the shapes around them. Begin the conversation by chatting about what shapes they see at home, at the playground, or even out of the car window. Use these activities for kids to inspire play and learning at home.
Start with a conversation. Talk about what your child sees in their familiar surroundings. Reading books is another great way to develop shape recognition and awareness. And of course, there are countless shape activities for preschoolers that help to develop shape knowledge, fine motor skills, and sorting skills.
Some of the best low-prep activities to teach shapes to preschoolers include crafts, building, and hands-on sensory. There’s always something for every preschooler depending on their interests, preferences, and learning style.