Learn how to teach shapes to your preschooler so that they stick. There are many fun and engaging activities included.
Why Teach about Shapes
Learning shapes is one of the first math concepts we teach our preschoolers.
All things are made of shapes, so it makes sense to teach shapes as one of the first math lessons.
Shapes are the beginning building blocks of math education.
Knowing shapes helps students to learn how to identify, classify, and describe objects.
But pointing at a poster with shapes is less than thrilling for the teacher and the preschoolers.
Keep reading to get some shapes for preschoolers’ activities to do with your little one that don’t require pointing to a stagnant poster.
This article may contain affiliate links to products that may help you when homeschooling preschool.
How to Teach Shapes to Preschoolers
Repetition is KEY!
As with most things, the most your preschooler does it, the easier it becomes.
Repetition is key when it comes to getting preschoolers to know their shapes.
There is no need to throw octagons or parallelograms into the mix when you are starting to teach shapes.
Start by introducing three shapes: a circle, a triangle, and a square (or rectangle).
Once those are mastered, more can be added on.
Just a side note: It can be tricky for preschoolers to distinguish between rectangles and squares.
Decide which one you want to teach first and stick with it.
Make it Fun
There are many different simple activities you can set out to help teach shapes to your preschooler.
Your preschooler will be able to do many of these over and over without your help once she knows what she is doing.
They are perfect for a morning basket or a table activity while doing something else.
Should they always be done independently? Probably not.
Your preschooler will benefit from your help. You can also quiz her to see how well she retains her shape knowledge.
Activities to Help Teach Shapes to Preschoolers
Print out a sheet with a few different shapes on it. Put the sheet inside a plastic sleeve (or gallon-size baggie) and have your little one use a dry-erase marker to trace it.
Pro Homeschool Mom Tip: These mats work well for it because they can also be used with play dough!
Say the name of the shape as she traces it.
Change it up by making it a game and saying, “Trace the triangle,” etc.
If you have plastic or wooden shapes, allow your preschooler to play with them and get familiar with them.
This is a great way to let your little one see the shapes and notice things about the shapes without you having to teach shapes directly.
From there, she can make patterns or sort the blocks by shape.
I Spy A…
Once your preschooler is getting familiar with some of the common shapes, play I Spy.
But this time, only spy shapes. ” I Spy something that is a circle…”
Play Dough Shapes
Using mats (like the ones in the first activity), have your preschooler roll out play dough like a snake.
Have her make the different shapes on the mat with her play dough.
If she is ready for the challenge, have her do it from memory!
Go on a Shape Hunt
Go on a scavenger hunt to look for shapes in your community.
Have a list (as simple as a piece of paper with the shapes drawn) and set off to find shapes in nature and the community.
The rectangle flag, the triangle traffic cone, and the circle clock are all great places to start.
Salt Box Shapes
Cut out shapes (or use the shape blocks) and hide them inside a sandbox or a salt box (box with salt).
Have your little one dig around and pull out shapes. She should say the name of the shape she found.
Place items that are of different shapes inside a paper bag.
Have the preschooler stick her hand in the bag and try to guess the shape without looking.
This shapes for preschoolers’ activity is more complex because your preschooler can’t see the shape. Use this activity after shapes are well known.
Shapes for Preschoolers
Make learning fun for your preschooler with these interactive ways to teach shapes. Remember, repetition is key, so there are many opportunities to try these activities.