We know many of you are home with little ones, looking for simple age-appropriate activities. Let's focus on Shapes!
Shape recognition and discerning shapes provides the building blocks for mathematical reasoning. When your child learns to discern the similarities and differences between basic shapes, they are using the same skills they need to recognize the differences between numerals. So, essentially, shape activities are also math activities for very young children.
Manipulating 2d shapes also helps with fine motor skills, so you're really checking off the boxes with these activities.
Here are 25 super-simple activities to practice shapes with your preschooler. No fancy supplies required! These activities focus on 2d shapes.
(And yes, we have some free printables at the bottom!)
1. Shape Scavenger Hunt
Ask your child to tell you about shapes. How many can your little one think of? Invite them to discover various shapes in your home. Their bed is a giant rectangle. The doorknobs are perfect circles. Perhaps there's a special triangle-shaped window in your home. How many shapes can they find in all? How many circles?
Would they enjoy snapping some photos of the shapes they find? Drawing them on a piece of paper?
For older children, you can begin to talk about the difference between 2D and 3D shapes.
2. Hidden Shapes
This shape activity is always a hit! With a white crayon, draw shapes on a white piece of paper, the bigger the better. (Make multiple shapes if you'd like the activity to last a bit longer.) Tell your child you found some magic mystery paper! There are hidden shapes on the paper that they have to find. Give them a marker, water color, or finger paint and have them color over the paper.
The shapes you drew will magically appear! (Water color works best.) What else can you hide on the paper? Can you reverse roles and have your child hide shapes from you?
3. Dry Erase Shapes
Do you have a dry erase marker in the house? Find a window and work together to draw all the shapes you can think of. Ask your child to say the names of the shapes. (That's right, draw it right on the window! The dry erase marker will wipe right off, so there's no mess for you.) If you don't have a dry erase marker, you can do this on paper, taping it to the wall to make a "Shape Mural".
4. Cookie Shape Time
ABC Mouse has a lot of activities for teaching shapes to young kids. Your kids will love this simple Shapes Cookie Time game on ABCMouse.com. They have to use the spatula to match the correct cookie shape pictures with the plate it belongs to. It's such a cute game. (We're a proud affiliate.)
5. Nature Shapes
One easy way to teach shapes is to first invite your child to head outside for some fresh air. Begin collecting some rocks, sticks, acorns, and other natural materials. Start making shapes with the objects, and invite your child to do the same with new shapes. (This also works with letters and numbers!) It's so much fun, especially because kids love getting a little messy.
If it's too cold or rainy outside, you can do the same thing indoors with popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, cheerios, legos, blocks, marbles - whatever you've got laying around.
6. Magic Paper Towel Shapes
This is truly magical! (And so easy!) Fold one piece of paper towel in half so that it looks like a book. On the inside of the book, draw a colorful shape. Now, fold your paper towel book so that you can't see your drawing anymore. Drop it into a bowl of water, and watch how your colorful shape magically appears! What else can you draw?
7. Pattern Blocks
Your kids can create patterns with the shapes, explore beginning symmetry, and create animals or other favorite things out of the shapes.
8. Messy Mud Shapes
Grab some containers you don't care much about, some plain construction paper, and a handful of old paintbrushes. Outside, scoop a healthy amount of dirt into each container, and then add a small amount of water and good amount of food coloring. If you don't have food coloring, this will be just as fun with plain old mud. Some recipes call for dish soap to help prevent stains in clothes, but it's optional. Now you're ready to paint some muddy shapes!
9. Shapes At The Zoo
Here's another fun one from our favorite app. Do you see a triangle or a a rectangle shape at the Zoo? Pick the correct shape on this fun ABCMouse.com game.
10. Paper Shape Love Notes
Here's the perfect practice activity for little hands. Trace and cut out different shapes of paper in different colors, like a square, triangle, circle, star, and heart. Write messages to family members and send them out to brighten their day. If your child isn't writing much yet, have them practice their name, or the first letter of their name, or a drawing. This is a great opportunity to connect with loved ones and get in some extra practice.
11. Meet Mrs. Diamond
Draw big shapes on a plain piece of paper. Invite your child to give the shape a face, hair, arms, legs, etc. Name you shape and hang it on the refrigerator. Be sure to say good morning to it first thing each day!
12. Catching Shapes
Ask your child if they'd like to go play catch. Find an open space, and practice playing catch. Try throwing underarm, overarm, sideways, under your legs, and any other way you can think of.
Then, try throwing items besides a traditional ball. Can you spare an oval-shaped egg? What would it be like to throw and catch a wet sponge? A coin? A square pillow?
This is a great way for your child to learn naturally about spheres and 3D shapes, and get a basic understanding of how they move through the air.
13. Ultimate Shapes Memory Match
Ultimate Shapes Memory Match on ABCMouse.com is a fun way for kids to learn about shapes. It's perfect for ages 2-6.
14. Salt and Sugar Shapes
This is one of our favorite preschool activities because it is so simple, versatile, and kids love it. Pour some salt, sugar, sand, or something similar into a tray. Invite your chilld to trace a variety of shapes into it. Simple tactile fun and sensory play!
15. Dirt Shapes
Find the perfect drawing stick. You'll want one that's sturdy with a fairly pointy tip, and just the right length. Next, find some dirt and draw some large shapes! Your kids will love the simplicity of this, and it's a great way to learn shapes outside in the fresh air.
16. Tracing Bowls / Rocks
Grab some different sizes circular or square objects from around your home and invite your child to trace them on paper. This is a great way to compare shapes and sizes, and practice fine motor school, both of which are important early math skills.
17. Shape Constellations
Trace shapes on a piece of paper and ask your child to poke holes along the lines you drew. (They can use a tac. Careful!) Then, shine a flashlight through the paper and see your shape constellations shine bright on the wall!
18. Water Shapes
It doesn't get much simpler than this. Fill up a container with water, and grab a paintbrush. Head outside and water paint some shapes on the driveway, fence, or house! It feels like painting, but there's absolutely no mess. It's a win-win for everyone.
19. Spin the Shapes Wheel
ABC Mouse has some awesome shape games. Spin the shapes wheel on ABCMouse.com to learn about what objects have that shape. Collect tickets as you go!
20. Shapes Memory Game
This online shape memory game is great for toddlers. And it's free! They simply click on a square to reveal a shape and try to find its matching pair. You can easily re-create this on paper if you prefer a non-electronic version.
21. Shape Collages
There are all different kinds of shape collages. For example, you can cut out several copies of the same shape and simply practice pasting them on a piece of paper that is in the same shape. (For example, several circles pasted onto a piece of paper that is also cut out in a circle shape.) Or, you could use many shapes to create an image. For example, use shapes to create a car or train shape, or a sunshine. Or, you can simply cut out a variety of shapes, and let your preschooler paste them where they may. Be sure to chat about what the shapes are called and their features. The possibilities are endless!
22. Play Dough Shapes
If you're the parent of a small child, chances are you have some play dough (or something like it) lying around the house. The next time your child grabs for it, encourage them to make some of the shapes you've been learning about. They can even make patterns if they want to.
23. Kinetic Sand Shapes
Kinetic sand is such a cool texture for kids to play with. and it is the perfect place for them to practice drawing new shapes because it holds its shape so well. The best part? No mess for you!
24. DIY Shape Puzzles
Simply cut out different shapes, and trace them onto a large piece of paper or cardboard. Gather up the shapes and let your young child place them where they belong!
25. Shape Bingo
Shape Bingo is just what its name suggests. Each player gets a card with different shapes on it. The caller calls out a shape. If a player has that shape, they cover that spot. The first person with a row or column covered, wins! You can order a fancy one from Amazon, or make your own using online tools.
As promised, here are your Free Shape Printables! It's a ten page pack of activities for you:
Thank you for visiting mkewithkids.com, and happy learning!