Shapes are all around us! They are in our kitchen, in cars, and on the street signs. Shape activities literally make up the world we live in.
Shape pictures take commonly seen objects and show how they are formed based on a combination of shapes. With this shape activity, let’s get our preschoolers to see the shapes in everyday objects!
RELATED: Want simple ideas that help kids learn through play? Our activity cards are what you need!
1. 2D Shapes
Also called pattern blocks, these are great to include in shape activities.
2. Mouse Shapes Book
I love using this book because it’s so simple and fun, and it’s excellent at introducing kids to shapes!
3. White Paper Roll
This is the one we use. I always have a stash in the house!
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How to Set Up This Shape Activity
Step 1. Read the book Mouse Shapes
To begin, I read Mouse Shapes with my boys. We read it multiple times before playing our shape activity.
This reading and rereading will build fluency and repetition. Your child will begin to understand the storyline and engage in active listening.
Step 2. Ask your child questions about the book
While reading, point to some shapes and ask your child questions. How many sides does this shape have? Have you seen a shape like this before? Do you know what this shape is called? This helps them with active participation.
Step 3. Stick down some paper and get out the shapes
Tape your white paper to the tabletop and place your 2D shapes to the left of the paper. It’s a great way to show your preschooler that an activity is about to begin.
Step 4. Bring on the shapes!
For two-year-olds, begin by tracing the shapes needed for different pictures. This tracing will guide them in seeing how shapes come together to form objects.
For older children, allow them to be responsible for what they create. They may use the book Mouse Shapes, and they may not!
RELATED: Looking for easy setups and fun ideas? Check out our activity cards!
More Ways to Add Shapes Into Play
- Create a maze with cylinders
- Cutting shapes from artwork
- Design pumpkin faces
- Draw shapes
- Explore area and volume
- Fly in your shapes
- Locating shapes outside
- Match shapes
- Paint shapes
- Playing with blocks
- Recognizing how many sides and corners
The Benefits of Shape Activities
Shape activities must be kept hands-on.
We want children to take new information and fit it into their prior knowledge. It’s impressive when we set children up with intentional play prompts and watch learning through play unfold and the ideas they create.
- Comparing – Shapes make great comparing tools. Like whether one has more sides than the other or if one is pointy or smooth!
- Constructing – Designing, building, and putting things together make a great STEM activity.
- Creative thinking – Understanding different ways to try fitting shapes is incredible for creativity – and we all need some of that in our lives!
- Explaining – Children often explain to themselves and others why they’ve chosen to do something to help them make sense of their choices.
- Patterns – People look for patterns to make sense in everyday life (yes, adults, too!). And shapes help with that skill.
- Problem-solving – Figuring out what goes where really enables kids to develop their problem-solving skills.
- Questioning – When playing with shape activities, kids will ask themselves whether they think it will fit and if not, why not?
- Storytelling – Shape pictures are an excellent way to get expressive and tell stories.
Why are 2D Shape Activities Important for Preschoolers?
Sometimes, we try to throw the entire activity at preschoolers and expect them to understand our objective. Let’s build some background knowledge first. By Kindergarten, children using the Common Core will correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
Children are also asked to model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes. Let’s expose our preschoolers to these higher standards now through play-based learning!
When playing this shape activity, keep this in mind… The objective of this game is to manipulate shapes, not necessarily to copy the photos. Your preschooler is the guide, and time for open-ended play is essential for learning to expand.
For example, my preschooler wanted to begin with the images in the book. The second time we played this shape activity, the play took on ideas from his creativity.
RELATED: Looking to add open-ended math toys to your home? This list of math toys is one you don’t want to miss!
A BUNDLE OF OUR BEST RESOURCES
Let’s Create an Environment You and Your Kids are Excited to Wake up to
Which Shape Activity Will You Try First?
There are an incredible amount of shape activities, and with so many benefits for learning and play, they are always a hit!
Looking for Math Activities?
- Color and Shape Match: a Toddler Math Activity
- Preschool Math Dice Game
- Run, Sort, Repeat – an Outdoor Math Activity
- Sorting by Shapes – Preschool Math Activity
Frequently Asked Questions
Use the environment to begin teaching shapes. Point out shapes you see on walks and inside the house. Talk about how many sides (vertices) the shape has and how many corners. A side is a line segment, and a corner is where the two sides meet. Talk about how the stop sign is an octagon and what you notice about rectangular street signs.
1. Sort toys by shape.
2. Graph shapes on paper.
3. Look for shapes outside.
4. Go on a 3D shape hunt inside the pantry.
5. Explore geoboards.
6. Play with Pentominoes.
7. Use this STEM and math toy list for exceptional shape tools!
Introduce a shape activity by closely examining the number of sides and corners. Pick one shape at a time and chat about where you can find the same 2D or 3D shape inside your home.
- 2D shapes
- Mouse Shapes book
- White paper roll
- Read the book Mouse Shapes.
- While reading, point to some shapes and ask your child questions. How many sides does this shape have? Have you seen a shape like this before? Do you know what this shape is called? This helps them with active participation.
- Tape your white paper to the tabletop and place your 2D shapes to the left of the paper. It’s a great way to show your preschooler that an activity is about to begin.
- For two-year-olds, begin by tracing the shapes needed for different pictures. This tracing will guide them in seeing how shapes come together to form objects. For older children, allow them to be responsible for what they create. They may use the book Mouse Shapes, and they may not!