Are you looking for the easiest ways to teach your toddler shapes? If so, you’ve come to the right place.
We are surrounded by shapes, so it’s only natural that we begin teaching our kids to recognize shapes at an early age. In fact, many teachers choose to teach shapes and colors first in their early learning classrooms.
Kids quickly begin to notice shapes and we can teach them to recognize basic shapes as toddlers.
There are so many fun activities for teaching shapes! Keep reading to discover the best ideas and activities to teach your toddler shapes, from playdough mats to tracing pages and everything in between.
You don’t want to miss these fun toddler shape activities and ideas.
What shapes should a toddler know?
You might be wondering where to begin when teaching your toddler shapes. Around age 2, kids start to notice the shape of objects, but that’s not the same as being able to identify basic shapes.
You can help your kids to identify basic shapes: square, circle, triangle, rectangle) before preschool with lots of fun activities and lessons.
Once your toddler knows basic shapes, you can continue learning by teaching more advanced shapes like oval, star, heart, and diamond.
By learning to recognize shapes and colors at an early age, kids begin to organize and understand the world around them.
Remember, every child is different. Some kids learn their shapes quickly and others need more time. Try some of the fun shape activities for toddlers mentioned in this article to help your toddler become more familiar with shapes and have fun learning.
How do I teach my toddler shapes?
Begin by taking advantage of everyday learning opportunities with your toddler. Point out the shapes you see in your natural surroundings.
Teach your toddler shapes by helping them to recognize the shapes they already see every day. Notice the shape of their pillow, their plate, and the front door.
Your toddlers will get excited by looking for shapes when you’re out and about too. Before you know it, he or she will be pointing out circles and triangles everywhere you go.
One fun way to encourage identifying shapes is by going on a shape scavenger hunt.
Tape shapes around the house and set your children loose on a shape scavenger hunt to find all the shapes they can.
I like to add an extra sense of fun with this by using magnifying glasses. If you don’t have your own, this shape activity bundle comes with a printable one to use!
When your children are ready, you can also have them go on a real life shape hunt and identify the shapes they see in real life.
Teach shapes through play
The next step to teaching shapes for toddlers is purposeful play. Young children learn best through play. It’s important to use that to your advantage. Take advantage of teachable moments as you play, but be careful not to push too hard or overwhelm your little learner.
Geometric blocks are one of my favorite ways to encourage shape exploration and learning with toddlers. As you build, say things like “Oh I love that triangle block you used!” or “Can you hand me the rectangle?” In this way, toddlers naturally build shape recognition skills.
Shape books for teaching your toddler shapes
Books provide another fun way to explore lots of early learning concepts with toddlers, including shapes. Here are some of our favorite books for learning all about shapes with toddlers at home and in the classroom:
- Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
- This Is a Book of Shapes by Kenneth Kraegel
- Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong and John Parra
- The Shape of Things by Dayle Dodds
- Shapes that Roll by Karen Nagel
- Icky Bug Shapes by Jerry Pallotta
- Shapes are Everywhere by Nikita Floyd
- Which Shape Should I Be by Pamela Kennedy
In addition to being a fun way to learn about shapes with your toddler, reading aloud is the best way to help kids fall in love with books.
You can encourage your toddlers to love reading and begin to develop an interest in learning to read while building their vocabulary and teaching them about shapes with some great books.
If you really want to encourage a love for reading, grab my shape book. This real life shape book is an easy reader with repetitive text, making it simple for kids to read independently.
Your toddler will have so much fun identifying the shapes inside the book and creating a real life object from it.
What are the geometric shapes?
You might be asking yourself, what are the geometric shapes? That’s easy. The common shapes we learn as toddlers and preschoolers are the geometric shapes. The basic plane geometric shapes are triangles, circles, squares, rectangles, trapezoids etc.
Keep reading to learn about 2D shape activities you can do at home with your children.
Activities for teaching shapes
There are tons of fun activities for teaching shapes to toddlers!
I’ve put together lots of great printable pages you can use to create meaningful lessons with your toddlers without spending lots of time prepping elaborate activities.
Check out our favorite ways to teach your toddler shapes:
Playdough Shape Mats
I love using these playdough shape mats to teach shapes to toddlers. Kids love playing with PlayDoh so it’s a great way to get them engaged in the lesson from the very start. Toddlers will begin by rolling their playdough into “snakes” which builds finger strength and coordination, so it’s great for fine motor skills. Then, teach your toddler shapes by using your playdough “snakes” to form the outline of each shape on these adorable playdough shape mats.
You can add even more learning fun by asking kids what their shapes look like. It’s a great way to extend the lesson with toddlers. Say “Hey, my triangle looks like pizza!” and so on. This will help toddlers connect the shapes they’re creating on the mats to the shapes they see in everyday life.
If you’re looking for another fun, hands on way to teach your kid shapes, try using geoboards.
These geoboard shape cards are a fun way for kids to make shapes. This set comes with 8 cards to make several different 2D shapes.
Learn Shapes in Real Life
Your little learner will have to study the pictures carefully to identify the real life shapes on these clothes pin clip mats.
This shape activity printable is an easy way to see if your toddler can identify shapes in the world around them all while strengthening their fine motor skills. Simply identify the shape in the center and clip clothes pin on each matching real life shape.
Shape Coloring Pages
Coloring pages are lots of fun, but they’re also great tools for early learning.
Toddlers can build important early learning skills like concentration, learn proper pencil grip, and practice color recognition too with these shape coloring pages.
I love teaching shapes to toddlers with shape coloring pages because they help kids to see that shapes are a part of our natural world and we encounter them daily.
Shape Sorting Activities
With sorting activities, toddlers learn to separate objects according to their similarities and differences. Shape sorting activities help toddlers develop early problem solving skills by requiring them to determine whether an object is more like a quadrilateral or a triangle and make decisions about the attributes of each shape.
Here are all the skills your toddler can learn from sorting shapes:
- Problem solving skills
- Visual discernment
- Pattern identification
- Fine motor skills
You can create your own super easy shape sorting activity at home using only colored paper, a marker, and scissors. Begin by drawing 4 columns on a piece of paper. Then, use your scissors to cut out 4 basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle). Place a triangle in one column, a circle in one column, etc. Then, have your toddler sort the remaining shapes into the proper columns.
Make this shape sorting activity easier for your toddler by making each shape the same color. For example, make all the rectangles yellow. To make this activity more challenging, use lots of different colors for every shape.
Printable Shape Activity Pages
I’m in love with these printable shape worksheets because they have a hands on element your toddlers will love!
Kids can use toy cars to learn about shapes with these printable shape worksheets where shapes are formed with “roads.” Toddlers can drive their toy cars around the shape to discover how many sides and corners each shape has. It’s a great way for kids to build familiarity with each shape while having fun.
Plus, these printable shape worksheets have an activity at the bottom to help your toddler recognize shapes they see in everyday life. For older kids, there’s a fun tracing activity at the top for practicing pre-writing skills by tracing the name of the shape.
Learn Shapes with Dot Marker Activities
Don’t you just love dot markers? Dot markers are super easy for teachers and moms, and they’re lots of fun for toddlers too.
You can use dot markers to teach your toddler shapes. Toddlers can improve their hand eye coordination as they aim and stamp each circle provided on these dot marker printables.
Your toddler will be building fine motor skills, strong finger muscles, working left to right, and exploring their own creativity with these dot marker printables too. Let them use as many colors as they like to complete the shapes on these dot marker pages.
Shape Neighborhood Matching Game
Have you heard of gameschooling? Gameschooling is all about using games to teach important skills and lessons. Using gameschooling with toddlers is a fun way to boost connection and learn through play with your kids.
Check out this shape neighborhood matching game to explore teaching shapes to your toddlers with a fun game.
Matching games are a fantastic way to develop visual discrimination skills, problem solving, build memory, and practice fine motor skills too. You can use this shape neighborhood matching game to help your toddlers identify shapes in the world around them by matching the shaped items to the correct shape houses in this printable game.
This game also involves sorting shapes which will help your toddlers develop important early learning skills while they learn to identify basic shapes.
Printable Snowman Shape Activity
Just in time for Winter, this snowman shape activity is an adorable printable your toddlers will love! My favorite way to use this activity with toddlers is to have them build their own snowmen by matching the everyday shapes on each snowman piece.
Can your toddler identify the square shapes they see every day and match them up with the square snowman head? With this fun Winter activity, you’ll be able to teach your toddler shapes while having fun.
How will you teach your toddler shapes this year? What’s your favorite activity or book for learning about shapes with toddlers?
Share your favorite ideas and activities for teaching shapes at home and in the classroom in the comment section. I can’t wait to read all about your learning journey and try some of your shape learning ideas with my toddlers too.