Teaching Shapes to Toddlers: Fun Ideas to Get Started

child enjoying didactic game

Toddlers are at the age where they’re curious about everything around them. Because of this, it’s one of the best times to teach them new things. Helping your toddler get familiar with shapes is an important part of early childhood education. This activity can also be incredibly fun and rewarding, both for caregivers and little ones alike. Teaching shapes to toddlers helps to lay the foundation for more complex concepts children will come across later in life. These simple stepping stones help them pursue learning bigger and better things.

If you’re a parent or caregiver, keep reading to explore some creative and enjoyable ways to introduce shapes for toddlers to learn.

Play Shape-Sorting Games

Child playing Shape-Sorting Games

If you have a dedicated shape-sorting toy, you can use it to begin teaching shapes to toddlers. However, you and your little one can try the same toddler shapes games using items around your home.

Gather a variety of objects with different shapes, such as blocks, balls, or even household items like Tupperware containers. Place the items in front of your child and encourage them to sort the objects based on their unique shapes. If they’re still relatively new to shapes, it’s okay to help a little.

To make learning shapes more enjoyable, consider turning it into a scavenger hunt, where your child goes through the house trying to find objects that have a specific shape.

Try Shape Art Together

child playing with didactic game

Lay down newspaper to protect your table or floor and provide your toddler with colored paper, safety scissors, crayons, and non-toxic glue. Once you have all of your supplies gathered. Guide your child in creating simple shapes that they can use to make a collage. For children who are still working on their coordination skills, you can always opt to replace the safety scissors with pre-cut printable shapes for toddlers.

This sort of hands-on activity helps your child recognize shapes. It also fosters creativity, fine motor skill development, and a deeper connection between yourself and your little one.

Sing Shape-Related Songs (or Rhymes)

Teacher teaching shapes to toddlers

This is one of the more fun and practical preschool shapes activities you can use for teaching shapes to toddlers, because this method doesn’t require any supplies and can be done anywhere.

Simply sing songs or recite rhymes that talk about shapes with your child. For example, you could sing “The Wheels on the Bus,” and focus specifically on the circular shape of the wheels when you sing the verse, “The wheels on the bus go round and round.” If you want to expand your song and rhyme choice, search the internet for toddler-friendly songs and rhymes about shapes. Plenty exist so you’re sure to find something that your child will like.


To make the song or rhyme more interactive, use gestures or props when you and your toddler are singing.

Introduce Your Toddler to Shape Puzzles

Teacher teaching shapes to toddlers through puzzle game

Investing in shape puzzles can help provide your toddler with a hands-on approach to learning about shapes. Several shape puzzles exist, so be sure to choose shapes activities for toddlers so that your child can start learning at an appropriate level.

Present your child with a shape puzzle and instruct them on how to match the shape pieces with the corresponding cutouts. When you start, use puzzles with only a few basic shapes so that your toddler doesn’t feel overwhelmed. Once they’ve mastered the easier puzzles, move up to ones that are a little more complex.

Watch your child while they play and learn, and praise their efforts when they match a shape correctly. If they get stuck, it’s okay to provide gentle guidance. After all, it’s a learning experience and sometimes a bit of help can make a big difference in how effectively a child learns.

Give Sensory Bins a Try

Child playing with shape toys

f you want to add more dimensions to your toddler’s learning experience, a set of sensory bins might be just the thing. Simply fill a large container with different objects of different materials and shapes for kids to learn. You might add wooden blocks, foam squares, or plastic cubes for the square bin. Using items of different colors is also a good idea for multifaceted teaching.

Once you’ve set up a couple of bins, encourage your little one to explore the contents of the bin with their hands. Let them feel the different shapes and textures and prompt them to identify the shapes they’re playing with.

This experience not only helps children recognize shapes, but can also work with identifying colors and materials as well.

Creating lessons and games on shapes for kids or shapes for toddlers can be a fun and rewarding way to spend time with your child. By incorporating a few engaging and exploratory activities, you can help your little one develop his or her shape recognition. In doing so, you’ll also foster his or her curiosity and love for learning. So, have fun and cherish the time you spend teaching.

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