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Learning is part of life. Kids learn and grow at a rapid pace, it’s amazing to watch things happen from day to day! In this article we’ll cover 25 exciting things to do with shapes for kids.
The awesome thing about learning is there are SO many ways to do it. Yes, we could just pull out traditional flashcards and textbooks and try to squeeze something new into our kid’s brains. OR we could add to it and give them fun ways to experiment with learning and just maybe they’ll be able to remember it!
Who doesn’t like to get ready-to-rock ideas?! Shapes were one of my favorite things to teach as a classroom teacher because there are so many things you can do with them. Kids love playing with shapes and they are a tangible thing they can touch and work with. Take a look, pick some favorites, and get to having fun with shapes!
Every activity with an *asterisk* has a FREE PRINTABLE included in the Shapes Activities Bundle!
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#1 Pipe Cleaners/Chenille Stems
Grab some pipe cleaners then bend them into all kinds of fun shapes! Take it up a level and have your child create the shape you are describing with its attributes. IE. This shape has 3 sides and 3 corners or vertices. (A triangle!) you can also switch roles and have your child describe them to you.
Continue the fun by connecting the shapes created with the pipe cleaners to create new shapes.
#2 Q tips
Lay the q-tips flat on the table or floor and move them around to create each shape. To help the kiddos just beginning to learn their shapes, invite them to first lay the q-tips on top of shapes drawn on the page. As they start to recognize the shapes, have them make the shapes without the drawn shapes underneath.
Once they have figured out the right shapes, let them glue them down onto a piece of paper and stick it on the fridge. This activity will definitely work better with shapes with straight-edges;)
Use noodles, like noodles you cook with? …. with shapes? Yes indeed! Take a piece of paper (it works better with something heavier, like card stock). Help your kiddo draw/trace a shape. Add a line of glue onto the shape lines and press noodles down into the glue. Then let it sit flat for awhile until the glue dries. Your kiddo could then write then names of the shape underneath!
#4 Shapes BINGO*
BINGO is a game enjoyed by people of all ages! Your kids will have fun recognizing shapes and marking them off on their own board.
Download and print the colorful BINGO boards (there are 4 different pages!) and find a small item to mark it off with like skittles, marshmallows, beans etc. Let the good times roll!
#5 Plastic Pattern Blocks
These are great and easy to use. As a teacher, my students loved using pattern blocks like these to learn about shapes. These are shapes they can pick up, turn over, trace, and create with.
They are a great tool with teaching your kids about sides and vertices (corners) because they can hold them in their hands and feel each side/corner. They are also super handy when you want to see how shapes fit together.
#6 Trace shapes
Grab a plastic shape (or other type of shape, whatever you have- though something harder will be easier to trace) and trace away. Tracing the shapes can help your kiddo strengthen their fine motor skills, boost their confidence (shapes can be hard to do free-hand!), and it’s fun! You might find that they get caught up in tracing and you’ll soon have pages of traced shapes to display on your fridge;)
Speaking of putting things together and taking them apart, here we come to composing and decomposing shapes. Say what?
Basically composing shapes is finding out what new shapes you can make by putting 2 or more shapes together. Decomposing shapes is the opposite, what happens when you separate shapes from one shape?
Another activity my students loved was creating their own pictures using shape stickers like these. We would usually start with plastic pattern blocks (like the ones above) that my students could move around and figure out what picture they wanted to make. Then they would take a piece of construction paper and re-create their picture using the stickers.
A fun addition to this activity was to write about the picture they created. (Yay for hitting two things at once…and it’s fun!)
#9 Make a Picture with Shapes
Use the plastic pattern blocks to create a fun picture. Draw the picture on a paper and count how many of each shape is used. Then color and decorate the picture however you’d like. All kinds of fun learning meshed together in one activity. 🙂
#10 Foam Shapes
Foam shapes could be used for all kinds of activities!
- Make a fun picture (like the stickers idea above).
- Make a picture then glue it down onto a page.
- Matching the shapes to an attribute (IE. put all the shapes with 4 straight sides here).
- Sorting the shapes by shape, color, or size.
- Form letters with the shapes.
#11 Magazine Cut-outs
Hand your child a few old magazines with child-safe scissors and help them find and cut out each of the shapes. You can focus on shapes they are having a hard time with or just use it as a fun activity to reinforce what they’ve already been learning. Take it a step further and let them glue the cut-out shapes onto another page, maybe even creating a new picture all together!
#12 Make Words Using Shapes
We talked about this just a bit with using foam shapes to make words. Some other fun ideas:
- Spell out a fun message like “Hi” or “I love you” using the shapes.
- Practice spelling words by creating the letters with shapes. Some letters will definitely be easier to form than others!
- Form the letters to spell each shape name.
Just what you’d picture it to be! Using any type of shapes (plastic, foam, paper, etc.) sort them by shape, size, color or characteristic.
For example, one way to sort could be to put all the shapes that have only straight sides into one pile (sorry circles!).
#14 Marshmallows and Pretzels or Toothpicks
Those who know me well know that I LOVE marshmallows. I don’t know why, but I have for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I would do anything for marshmallows, so needless to say I like any activities that involve them! This is an awesome way to combine your child’s creativity with learning and fun.
With marshmallows and pretzels (or toothpicks) in hand, sit down and make some shapes together. After the shapes are done, they will harden into place within a short time and hopefully hold their shape (that is if they don’t get eaten first!). This is a great activity that you can sneak a treat from as you go;)
#15 Draw Shapes with Paint
Pull out the paintbrushes, paint, and find a piece of paper (with newspaper or something underneath if you’d like to protect your table/floor). Have your kiddo draw shapes all over the page. This can be done in a random way, shapes drawn wherever or you can draw specific things depending on what you say.
If you wanted to use it as a way to see how they are doing with shapes, say things like “draw the shape that has five equal sides” (hexagon) or “draw a shape that has curves” (circle)
#16 Shape Match Up*
Match each shape picture to the description that matches it by drawing a line. Put the page into a sheet protector so you can write on it with a dry erase marker and reuse it!
#17 Draw Shapes in Salt
The drawing continues! Only this one doesn’t involve any paint (or ink for that matter). Take a shallow container (I used a pencil box) and fill the bottom of it with salt. Similar to other activities we’ve talked about, you can help your kiddo by giving them a shape to draw by its name, attributes, or anything else you feel will help them practice learning their shapes.
Draw the shape in the salt. When they’re ready for a new shape, gently shake the container so the salt covers the bottom once again. Do it as many times as you’d like!
#18 Shape Scavenger Hunt*
How can you make learning about shapes even more exciting? Going on a scavenger hunt of course! Sign up and download this one right now!
It is a fun way to get your kids looking inside and outside for shapes in the real world. After you print it out, I would recommend putting the page in a sheet protector so you can use it again and again!
#19 Play dough
Play dough is too good to leave off the list! Roll it out and get to creating. This could be a fun way to make the shapes using your hands, but you could also use cookie cutters to press the play dough down into and make each shape. After making the shapes, have your kiddo create a new shape by putting two dough shapes together. What can they make now?
#20 Memory Game*
There are TWO games in the printable! One game is to match up shape pictures and the other game is to match the shape picture with the name of the shape.
Print and cut the pages out, mix the cards up, and flip them over so the top side is facing down. Have your kiddo choose two cards to flip over and see if they are a match. Are they both circles or did you find the picture of the circle to match up with the word circle? Nope! Flip them back over and try again. They would likely love to have an older sibling, a friend, or you to play the game with. Things are often better together;)
#21 Tape and Go
Tape shapes onto the floor and do all kinds of fun activities! You and your kiddo could walk along the lines that form the shapes and talk about what makes up each shape. You could pretend any space outside of the shapes is hot lava and hop from shape to shape, calling out the shape names. Find more ideas here.
#22 Sidewalk Chalk
Head outside and draw away! You can draw the shapes once, then trace over them with a new color. Or try drawing the shapes using different colors to show the different lines. Drawing with sidewalk chalk is extra fun because even if you make a mistake, you can just slide over and try again on a new piece of cement. It’s hard to run out of sidewalk;) Then when the next rainfall comes, it will all be cleaned up for you. Easy peasy.
#23 Popsicle Sticks
Lay the Popsicle sticks out so they overlap to create the corners of the shapes. Once you have the shapes created, glue them together so they stay in their shapes!
#24 Glow Sticks
This activity will “light” up your kiddo’s night! Haha, I couldn’t resist;) But seriously, glow sticks could be a blast! Get some different colors and create different shapes. Take a part away to show what happens when a piece of a shape is removed. Does it change the shape?
#25 Shape Hunt*
This one is a little like the scavenger hunt, except this time your kiddo gets to discover their own objects that have each shape!
The printable has a place to write the name of the object they find and draw a picture of it. You can also use a sheet protector for this activity, easy to reuse. 🙂
Well There You Have It, 25 Great Things To Do With Shapes!
So much fun just waiting to happen! Your kiddo will love trying new activities and you will enjoy teaching them using tons of different ideas. Choose a few and get started!