Learning Shapes for Preschoolers: Our Favorite Activities

Learning shapes helps to introduce preschoolers to early math concepts and vocabulary while giving them a better understanding of space and the shapes they see in the world around them.

Shapes Identification Activities

Luckily, there are a lot of fun ways to incorporate learning shapes for preschoolers into your classroom. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Shape Fishing

This is a great activity to strengthen a child’s fine motor skills and shape recognition skills at the same time. Fill a shallow tray with water, and float various foam shapes on the surface. Provide a muffin tin and a pair of tongs, and ask preschoolers to “catch” the shapes and sort them using the wells of the muffin tin.

Comparing Shapes

One of the simplest ideas for learning shapes for preschoolers, educators can begin by asking children to identify different sizes of the same shape around the classroom. For example, they may see small rectangles (books, boxes) and large rectangles (chalkboard, door, window). Ask children to make the same identifications with circles, squares and other shapes.

Take a Shape Walk

Get outside and discover even more shapes! Look for shapes on flags, homes, storefronts, playgrounds and more. You can take this activity one step further by taking photos of each shape. Then, when you’re back in the classroom, print out the photos and have preschoolers label the shapes they saw during their walk.

Shape Stamping

Collect a variety of 3D objects in a range of basic shapes that can be used for stamping. You might choose to use bottle caps, blocks, cookie cutters or various lids. Or, cut out sponge shapes to form simple circles, triangles, squares and rectangles. Allow preschoolers to create their very own 2D stamping art using paint, paper and these 3D shapes.

Shape Collage

Have children cut shapes from construction paper (or provide pre-cut shapes for younger ones), then create a scene by arranging and gluing those shapes to a large piece of paper. You might choose to offer direction on what to create (a building, an animal, or a landscape), or give preschoolers free reign. Once complete, take the time to talk about the shapes they chose for their collage.

Build a Shape

Create flashcards, each featuring a different shape. Give children one of these shape cards along with a number of craft sticks, and ask them to re-create the shape they see on the card. You may choose to have children glue the sticks together or secure them on a piece of paper, or leave the sticks loose for re-use later. After each shape is complete, ask the child to identify some real-life objects that take on the same shape.

You might choose to offer direction on what to create (a building, an animal, or a landscape), or give preschoolers free reign.

Do you have any recommendations for shape learning crafts, games or activities? We’d love to hear them. Tell us on Twitter @HiMamaSocial, and share your ideas with your educator community.

Savannah Copland

Savannah Copland is a Marketing Manager at HiMama. She has been working for over 3 years in the early childhood education space, and feels incredibly fortunate to have met, interviewed, and worked closely with registered early childhood educators, thought leaders and researchers during that time. She is particularly interested in finding novel ways for child care centers to market themselves and bolster their enrollment. She loves cats, and always needs at least one toy on her desk to fidget with!