Teaching your toddler about shapes is as important as learning about colors or numbers.
Shapes are everywhere and the foundation for certain mathematics.
But memorizing shape names can be tedious and boring. So here are a few fun ideas for shape activities that will build your toddler’s brain!
1. Drawing Shapes
Your toddler can practice drawing shapes with crayons, markers, or even sidewalk chalk.
You’ll first have to draw the shapes, so your toddler can copy them. They won’t be perfect, but it’s good fine motor practice.
Toddlers learn by doing or playing.
Remember those learning types from school? (Visual, auditory, and tactile learning styles.)
Your toddler will learn from watching and listening, but she’ll probably learn more by doing it herself. (Tactile) So let her attempt to draw the shapes herself.
If you need to, hold her hand on the crayon to show her how to draw a shape a few times.
2. Shape Hunting
Scavenger hunts are a lot of fun. You can make an easy shape hunting game by hiding shape toys like Easter eggs.
If you don’t have any shape toys, just draw some shapes on pieces of paper and hide them around the house.
Another fun way to hunt shapes is to look for objects that are a specific shape.
Tell your toddler to find all the circles in the house. They can point to clocks, toys, buttons on the remote, or anything you have that has circles on it.
Give them stickers on their shirt or a piece of paper for each shape they find.
Shape hunting is also fun outside. You can simply ask your toddler to find any shapes they see.
Some houses near you might have circle windows. Your sidewalk might be made of rectangles.
It’s a fun way to show your toddler that shapes are everywhere.
3. Magnetic Shape Toys or Blocks
We have a set of magnetic shape toys that she loves to play with. Building with shape toys, or even just regular blocks, promotes STEM learning. (Especially the E for engineering!)
Your toddler will learn how shapes work together to make structures.
Plus, it will help her think in three dimensions, so you can teach her about shapes like cubes and spheres.
4. Make Shape Pictures
Remember making shape pictures in school? Ahh, those were the days. Why not share that fun with your toddler?
Cut out a few different shapes. I like to use scrap-booking paper with cute designs, but heavy construction paper will work too.
Your little one can assemble the shapes any way she wants, or you can make a guide to show her how to make certain pictures.
A house is the easiest thing to make. You can also try making cat faces, fish, or other animals!
Don’t forget to quiz your toddler on what shapes they’re using. “What should we use for eyes? Circles or Squares?”
5. Shape Tape (or Chalk)
One of Toot’s favorite games is Shape Tape. I swear if she finds the roll of tape, she will immediately hand it to me and ask for shapes.
All you need for this game is masking tape or washi tape for indoor play. For outdoor play, you can use sidewalk chalk.
Use the tape to make large shapes on your floor. We just put it right on the carpet. Outside just draw large shapes with chalk.
There are several games you can play with your taped shapes:
- Ask your toddler to put objects in a certain shape. (Bears go in the triangle, dolls in the circle…)
- Have your child walk along the tape one foot at a time kind of like a balance beam.
- Tell your little one to jump from shape to shape. (Jump to the square…)
There are a lot of open ended possibilities with giant shapes on your floor. Just let your toddler explore them.
6. Sticker Shapes
Stickers can be used for a few different shape activities.
You can buy different shape stickers and use those to make pictures or sort on a piece of paper.
I don’t know why toddlers are fascinated by stickers, but they are!
I like to put stickers on paper as a connect-the-dots activity for Toot. It has really boosted her confidence when drawing shapes.
She has learned that if she connects the four stickers, she can make a square.
I also showed her that 5 stickers can make a star or a pentagon depending on how you connect them!
It’s fun to watch her make mental connections like that. I love watching her brain grow.
7. Sorting Shapes
Toddlers will sort anything. If you have shape toys, they can sort them into piles or into containers.
No shape toys? No problem. Just cut out shapes or draw them on little bits of paper.
Sorting helps differentiate similar shapes like squares and rectangles or circles and ovals.
We’re still working on this. Comparing and contrasting are great basic scientific and analytic skills to build on in the future.
What are your favorite shape activities for toddlers?
Let me know in the comments below!
Also check out this fun sidewalk chalk obstacle course that teaches shapes.
This is sponsored by Enfagrow® Toddler Next Step™.
I love these ideas! My daughter knows a lot of the shapes now, but can’t draw them to understand them more. I will be working on a few of these with her!
Niki @ Toot's Mom is Tired says
Yeah we’re still working on drawing them. She’s getting better though! But she needs a lot of practice on shapes with sides. Circles we got down. ?
These ideas are so fun! Whenever we’re in the car, my son will point out all the different shapes he sees! I definitely need to work on the drawing with him.
Anne Mackie Morelli says
Thanks for the ideas! I have two little grandsons that I can use some of the activities with! Looking forward to it!
Niki @ Toot's Mom is Tired says
I hope they have fun with them!
Great ideas! Pinning to my preschool board 🙂
Niki @ Toot's Mom is Tired says
This is SO helpful…I love the pics too! We will have a toddler before we know it and I want to be as prepared as I can be to help her learn!
Love this! I am always looking for interesting activities to do with my toddler, and this fits the bill. Thanks for some great inspiration!
Leigh Suznovich says
Love this, these look like such fun activities that really engage the brain for the little ones! Going to try some with my nieces and nephews.
We need to work on drawing shapes. My daughter can identify and sort them. She has been very interested in writing lately.
Courtney Byers says
These are such great ideas for toddlers. I always feel like hands on learning is perfect for them.
love the shape hunting idea!
Thank you for these tips! My toddler is definitely starting to comprehend shapes and I will surely be adding some of these activities to our regimen!
Such great ideas! I have been wanting to get my daughter some of those magnetic toys. I’ve added them to her birthday list!
Very thought through post.. I find the tape and sticker activity quite unique! Plus it’s all mess free.. with twin toddlers this for me is the main highlight! 😉