17 Creative Shape Activities For Toddlers To Do At Home

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Rectangle. Triangle. Circle. Hexagon. Cylinder. Cube. Introducing shape activities for toddlers is a fun way to teach them about various structures. Almost everything in our environment has a shape. Shapes are used to define and identify an object. Therefore, kids need to learn shapes from their early childhood education.

Shape recognition is an important aspect of a child’s primary schooling as it broadens their imagination to develop problem-solving skills. And it is ideally taught between the ages of two and three. We have compiled a list of fun shape activities for preschoolers that your child may enjoy in this post.

In This Article

17 Best Shape Activities For Toddlers

1. Shape treasure hunt

Shape treasure hunt for toddlers

Image: Shutterstock

Exploration of the unknown can be such a joy! With this treasure hunt activity, your toddler will enjoy discovering and learning about new shapes.

You will need:

  • Several sheets of colored paper
  • Scissors
  • A large plastic container
  • Wheat flour

How to:

  1. Cut the colored paper into different patterns such as a triangle, circle, square, etc. Cut as many shapes as you need.
  2. Fill the plastic container/box by stacking them with wheat flour. Place the paper cutouts in the flour and mix them all.
  3. Now ask your toddler to find the shapes hidden in the flour. Every time he finds a shape, call the shape name out loud so that he learns it.
  4. Once he is adept at remembering the names, you can ask him to search only for specific shapes.

2. Shape stencils

Shape stencils activity for toddlers

Image: Shutterstock

Tracing is an easy way to acquaint the toddlers with shapes and providing a hands-on experience.

You will need:

  • Thick cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Water paints
  • Paintbrush
  • Sketch pens
  • Chart paper

How to:

  1. Cut the cardboard into smaller rectangular pieces. Carve out the shape at the center of the cardboard to make a stencil. Make multiple cardboard cutouts with a shape each on a cardboard piece.
  2. Lay the chart paper on the table or floor. Give the cardboard stencils to the toddlers and let them trace the shapes on a chart paper.
  3. Let the child trace the shapes on different portions of the same chart paper. Once the shapes have been traced, label each shape and say it aloud.

3. Shape matching

Shape matching activity for toddlers

Image: Shutterstock

A simple yet engaging shape activity for preschoolers that helps them learn and remember.

You will need:

  • Colored papers
  • Crayons
  • Scissors

How to:

  1. Cut out different shapes from colored papers and shuffle them.
  2. On another chart or colored paper, draw the shapes using crayons.
  3. Ask the toddler to match a shape cutout with its corresponding shape drawing on the chart.
  4. When the toddler gets it right, pen the name of the shape on the colored paper.
protip_icon Did you know?
Making kids familiar with shapes provides a more accessible route to math for some children instead of focusing primarily on numbers. It may also help underprivileged children who can’t make use of outdoor and spatial play resources. (1)

4. Ice cream stick shapes

Ice cream stick shape activity for toddlers

Image: bitty_bee_play_ideas/Instagram

So far, it was about identifying and naming shapes. This one is about making shapes using colorful ice cream sticks!

You will need:

  • Wooden ice cream sticks
  • Watercolors
  • Paintbrush

How to:

  1. Paint the ice cream sticks in colors that your toddler likes. You can use multiple colors on one stick to make things vivid. Once painted, leave the sticks to dry.
  2. Sit on the floor with the colorful sticks. Place them together to make different shapes like triangle, rectangle, hexagon, etc.
  3. Instruct your toddler to replicate and practice repetition of making the shape through observation.
  4. Once the toddler remembers the names of the shapes, you can tell him a name, and he can make the shape on his own while you supervise.

5. Shape sorting household objects

Popsicle shape activity for toddlers to do at home

Image: Shutterstock

Why not turn the entire house into a giant play area? This activity will tell you how.

You will need:

  • Multi-colored sticky notes
  • Sketch pen

How to:

  1. Draw the shape and write its name on a sticky note of one color. For example, red sticky notes will have a rectangle drawn on them, while yellow will have a circle, and so on.
  2. Now ask the kid to look for household objects with shapes mentioned on the sticky notes.
  3. Once you find an object, say a rectangular table, the toddler sticks the red sticky note on it. Continue pasting notes on all objects at home depending on the shape.
  4. Once you are done, take a tour of the house with the toddler and ask him to say the name of the shapes of each household item.

6. Stepping on shapes

Stepping on shapes, shape activity for toddlers

Image: pitfire_gingerbaby/Instagram

A joyful shape-themed preschool activity that is ideal for groups.

You will need:

  • Chart paper
  • Sketch pen
  • Scissors

How to:

  1. Make large illustrations of various shapes on the chart paper. Cut out each figure.
  2. Scatter the drawings on the floor, not too far away from each other.
  3. Let the toddler stand next to the first shape. Stand a distance and call out the name of a shape. The toddler takes a step towards the shape on the floor. You then call out another shape, and the toddler takes a step towards it.
  4. Continue that until the child steps on all the shapes. You can also play the activity with a group of toddlers. The fastest to cover all the shapes is the winner.

7. Caterpillar shapes

This activity teaches about shapes and colors at the same time.

You will need:

  • Colored paper
  • Chart paper
  • Scissor
  • Glue
  • Sketch pen

How to:

  1. Cut the colored paper into shapes such as a circle, rectangle, etc. Pick different colors for different shapes and cut them in large and small sizes.
  2. Glue the larger shapes one after the other on a chart paper, to depict a caterpillar. You can use sketch pens to draw the face of the caterpillar at the end.
  3. Shuffle the tiny shapes. Ask the toddler to stick the shapes to its corresponding larger shape within the caterpillar’s body.
  4. Continue until all the shapes are over. This activity will help toddlers learn names of shapes and colors.

8. Match the eggshells

This activity helps toddlers remember how a shape appears thus making it an ideal activity for younger toddlers who are still learning how shapes look.

You will need:

  • Sketch pens
  • Chart paper
  • Watercolors
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissor

How to:

  1. Draw an oval shape, resembling an egg, on the chart. Make zigzag lines at the center of the egg, indicating a cracked eggshell.
  2. Let the toddler color the illustration of the egg. Once done, cut along the zigzag line to separate the eggs into distinct sections
  3. Draw a shape on each half of the egg. Shuffle them all together and give it to the toddler.
  4. The toddler places the one end of the shell on the table and searches for the corresponding shell in the pile of cutouts. So if the toddler just placed an eggshell with a circle drawn on it, then he will search for the other half that also has a circle drawn on it.
  5. The toddler searches and matches the two corresponding egg shells to complete the egg.

9. Clay shapes

Clay shape activity for toddlers

Image: Shutterstock

A simple yet excellent sensory activity to identify, play with, and remember shapes.

You will need:

  • Plastic cut outs/stencils of various shapes
  • Non-toxic clay for kids
  • Chart paper

How to:

  1. Roll the clay and flatten it out.
  2. Take the shape stencils and cut out a shape each from the clay molding.
  3. Place the clay shapes on chart paper. Let the toddler feel tactile with each of them and remember the shape and the number of sides.
protip_icon Quick tip
Help toddlers create their name, age, street address, or family name to make learning useful.

10. Shapes of block

Sponge painting activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Use your toddler’s playing blocks to help him teach about making different shapes.

You will need:

  • Multiple sets of playing blocks
  • Sketch pen
  • Chart paper

How to:

  1. Using a sketch pen, draw large shapes on chart paper.
  2. Ask the toddler take the blocks and match them with the shape, in alignment with its size, on the chart.
  3. Let him do the same for other shapes as well.
  4. This activity helps establish the basic knowledge of shapes and sizes, especially among younger toddlers.

An anonymous mother narrates her own experience of engaging her toddler in a shape activity for the first time in her blog. She uses painter’s tape to make shapes like squares, rectangles, and triangles on the floor and gives her son, J, bean bags in different colors. She writes, “I then gave J specific directions, ‘Toss the green beanbag into the square!’ He enjoyed trying to toss them inside the shapes. I requested a specific color bean bag to reinforce colors. He’s pretty good at most of his colors which kept this activity focused more on the shapes (i).”

11. Find shapes in a book

Shapes are everywhere, even in that storybook your toddler reads.

You will need:

  • An illustrated children’s storybook
  • Sketch pen

How to:

  1. Select a storybook with several illustrations, preferably one that your toddler is familiar with.
  2. Take a sketch pen or pencil, sit with your toddler, and highlight as many shapes as you can in the book. For instance, when you see an illustration of the sun, you can tell it is a circle and write it down next to it.
  3. Once you cover all the shapes in the book, you can go back start all over again to revise. Only this time, have the toddler say out what shape it is.

12. Sponge painting

Tracing the shape activity for preschoolers

Image: Shutterstock

Painting with a sponge is extra fun for toddlers and can be used to teach them shapes.

You will need:

  • A large block of sponge
  • A cutting tool
  • Watercolors
  • Colour palette
  • Large chart paper

How to:

  1. Cut the large block of sponge into three-dimensional shapes using scissors or a knife. This has to be done by the adult and not the toddler.
  2. Spread a plastic sheet on the floor and place the chart on that, to prevent messing the floor. Add the watercolors to the palette.
  3. Let the toddler dip the sponge in the watercolor and make an impression on the chart paper.
  4. Every time the toddler makes a shape impression, tell him what shape it is.
  5. You can also get the toddler to outline that shape using a sketch pen, for better understanding,

13. Shape memory game

Shape memory game for toddlers

Image: momiciouscircle/Instagram

This is a memory game that aims to help the toddler memorize shapes.

You will need:

  • Chart paper
  • Scissors
  • Sketch pen

How to:

  1. Cut the chart paper into small squared cards of 15cm.
  2. Draw an identical shape on two cards, to make pairs.
  3. Place the cards in an array of rows and columns, with the illustrated side facing down.
  4. The toddler turns two random cards and observes the shape. He repeats the same with other cards till he forms pairs of the corresponding card by remembering its location.

14. Trace the shape

Trace the shape activity for toddlers

Image: Instagram

You can buy a ready-to-trace book or do it yourself at home.

You will need:

  • Butter paper
  • Plain paper
  • Black sketch pen
  • Pencil

How to:

  1. Draw different shapes, of varying sizes, on the plain paper.
  2. Place the butter paper on top of the plain paper and give it to the toddler.
  3. The toddler then traces the shape on the butter paper using the pencil.

15. Sort shape by design

Sort shape by design, shape activity for toddlers

Image: Shutterstock

This is a more advanced activity that is best suited for older toddlers who gain considerable mastery on recollecting shapes.

You will need:

  • 2-3 plastic bowls
  • Plastic shape stencils or shaped blocks
  • Black sketch pen
  • Sticky notes

How to:

  1. Shuffle the plastic stencils together in a large bowl.
  2. Label the plastic bowls each with illustrations of shapes like a circle, square, rectangle, etc. on a sticky note.
  3. Now the toddler is supposed to pick a shape and put it in the right bowl. For example, if he picks a square he should put it in the bowl with the sticky note featuring a square on it.
  4. Continue sorting the shapes as per their design to finish the game.

16. Sticker shapes

This activity is simple to arrange and suitable for an entire class or a small group of children at home. It emphasizes the significance of shape identification, a crucial learning aspect for toddlers and preschoolers.

You will need:

  • Dot stickers
  • Construction paper
  • Marker

How to:

  1. Draw shapes on construction paper and affix them to the walls.
  2. Initiate a discussion about shapes and their distinctive attributes with the children.
  3. Encourage them to trace the outlined shapes on the construction paper with the dot stickers.

17. Sand shapes

Engage your little ones in a delightful sand-shaped activity designed for sensory exploration.

You will need:

  • Play sand
  • Assorted shape molds (circles, squares, triangles)
  • Shallow container or sandbox

How to:

  1. Fill a shallow container or sandbox with play sand, creating a designated play area for the activity.
  2. Introduce various shape molds to the toddlers, emphasizing shapes like circles, squares, and triangles.
  3. Let the toddlers explore the sand with their hands, encouraging them to feel its texture.
  4. Demonstrate how to use the shape molds by pressing them into the sand to create distinct shapes.
  5. Allow the toddlers to experiment with the molds independently, fostering creativity and sensory development.

Tips For Shape Activities For Toddlers

  • Scissors should be used by an adult: All activities that involve the use of sharp objects such as scissors or a knife should be handled only by an adult and not the toddler.
  • Let toddlers learn one shape at a time: So many shapes, so little playtime! Let that not be the case. Learning one shape for a few days is the best way to get it right forever. Once your preschooler is thorough with one shape, you can move on to the next. But if your child is not overwhelmed by the information and is comfortable learning about multiple things at a time, you can introduce more than one shape at a time.
  • Refer daily objects by their shape: You can look for a shape anytime, anywhere. While on a walk or car trips, play the shape guessing game by pointing at random everyday objects like the street light, zebra crossing or a car. It makes shape-learning more engrossing.
  • Have a refresher once in a while: Once your child is adept at remembering the shapes, play games that help them revise their knowledge using their memory and coordination.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it important for toddlers to learn shapes?

Complex shapes and puzzles are made by combining different basic shapes. Learning shapes at a young age builds a solid foundation of visual and mental development. It also increases a child’s understanding of mathematical concepts and spatial awareness.

2. How many shapes should a two-year-old know?

From an educational point of view, a two or three-year-old should be able to identify the basic shapes, including circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles. Once they recognize them, they can move forward and learn the advanced shapes with more sides or a combination of the basic ones.

3. What are some shape-sorting toys for my toddlers?

Some popular shape-sorting toys for toddlers include sorting cubes with cutouts of different shapes, puzzles, stacking toys of different shapes and sizes, and boxes and blocks to match their correct shapes and dimensions.

4. What are some educational benefits of shape activities for toddlers?

Shape activities for toddlers provide numerous educational benefits in the form of cognitive development as they promote logical thinking and problem-solving skills, enhance spatial awareness, improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and foster creativity and imaginative thinking.

5. What are the benefits of doing shape activities with my toddler?

Participating in shape activities with your toddler creates an opportunity for quality bonding time. It allows you to engage with your child, share experiences, and communicate with them. This interaction fosters a strong parent-child relationship and helps your toddler feel loved and supported. Besides, it aids them in various developmental skills like language acquisition, creativity, confidence building, and mathematics concepts, improves concentration, and enhances problem-solving skills.

Shapes define almost everything around us, making it important for children to learn to identify shapes from an early age. Tracing out various shapes from colorful papers, using shape stencils, and building shapes from ice cream sticks, sponges, or clay can be fun shape activities for toddlers. In addition, you may use books with illustrations, shape blocks, or even household items to teach shapes to your infant and sharpen their motor skills. Finally, you can help your child learn faster by referring to daily objects by shapes and playing memory refresher games.


Infographic: Tips For Shape Activities For Toddlers

Shape activities are fun to pique children’s interest in the different geometric shapes and help them learn and remember. But before you introduce these activities, a few tips on how to go about it can make the process easier for the children and help yield the desired results.

things to do while engaging toddlers in shape activities (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Shape activities are an effective way to teach toddlers about different shapes.
  • Teaching shape recognition to children between the ages of two to three is crucial for their primary school education.
  • Toddlers can learn shape recognition through various shape activities such as stepping on shapes, ice cream stick forms, shape stencils, shape matching, shape treasure hunts, and more.
  • These shape activities help toddlers recognize, name, and make shapes.
  • Simple materials like colored paper, cardboard, crayons, and everyday items found in households can be used to create shapes for these activities.
Shape Activities For Toddlers_illustration

Image: Dall·E/MomJunction Design Team

Watch this video to explore 9 fun ways to learn shapes with our kids! Join us for some fun learning activities with shapes that will keep your little ones engaged and entertained.

Personal Experience: Source


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
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Claudia M. Gold is a pediatrician and writer who practiced pediatrics for over 20 years and currently specializes in infant-parent mental health. She is on the faculty of the Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship Program at University of Massachusetts Boston, the Brazelton Institute at Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Berkshire Psychoanalytic Institute. She has written 4 books: The Power of Discord...read full bio