Over the last few months, I have been working a lot with Pooky on identifying, naming, matching, and sorting shapes. She is quite good with the basic shapes now, so I thought I would share some of the fun ways you can explore these skills with toddlers. (This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure statement here.)
Create a shape themed sensory bin!
I started by focusing on just the circle and then also included the square soon after. The way I officially kicked off our shape “unit” was with a circle sensory bin.
Honestly, part of me thought she wouldn’t be very interested in this, but it turns out Pooky was very curious about it, and she immediately dug right in! I created this circle bin with stuff I found around the house. It surprised me how much she explored the different textures I included.
Eventually she took out several of the circles and began sorting them by color. This gave us the opportunity to talk a lot about the circles (big circles, small circles, different colors of circles, etc…).
After a few days of playing with the circle bin, I put together a sensory bin filled with squares, and we talked a lot about them too.
Go on a scavenger hunt for shapes!
Play with buttons!
Pooky loves buttons! (As does any other toddler I imagine.) So we have all kinds of different buttons. I love these REALLY BIG BUTTONS because they’re durable, educational, bright and fun, and too big to be a choking hazard.
I set up a sorting activity by presenting Pooky with a bowl of circle and square buttons. I also gave her one pipe cleaner with a square button tied onto it and one with a circle button on it. Pooky then had to sort and thread all the buttons onto the corresponding pipe cleaner. This gave her a lot of practice with her fine motor skills, and it also allowed us a lot of opportunities to talk about the shapes and colors.
Play a matching game!
I downloaded this free printable pack from Gift of Curiousity. (If you haven’t signed up to receive her emails with the free printable packs, you’re missing out!) Then I cut out the pairs of shapes and put one of each in our pocket chart. I gave the remaining shapes to Pooky and showed her how to match them up. By the time I played this matching game with her, I had already introduced all the basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, oval, and star) to her.
I set up a painting session with the shapes from Pooky’s shape sorter set and some tempura paint. I just showed her once how to dip and stamp the shape, and she went to town with it!
Play a variation on hopscotch!
You can read all about our shape themed hopscotch fun here.
Play with blocks!
Pooky loves to build a “great big tower” with her foam blocks. This gives us a convenient time to talk about the different shapes and their characteristics. She has been doing a great job of using the correct names of the shapes as she’s building.
Here are some of our favorite shapes toys and books!
If you liked these ideas for learning thru play, you might want to follow some of my Pinterest boards for more great kid-friendly learning ideas.
And for even more great posts about fun and learning with kids visit the links below to see lots of ideas from other mommy bloggers.
Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop at Hip Homeschooling Mom
Tuesday Tots at Rainy Day Mum
Learn Thru Play Hop at Sandy Toes Creations
Weekly Kids Co-op at B Inspired Mama
For the Kids Friday at Sun Scholars
Tot School Gathering Place at 1+1+1=!
Show and Share Saturday at I Can Teach My Child