In order to be ready for kindergarten, preschoolers benefit from learning their shapes. Here are 16+ shape activities for preschool lesson plans that are full of fun ideas and available in a FREE download at the end of this post. There are shape activities for toddlers, too!
Already-Planned-For-You Shape Activities for Preschoolers
Learning shapes is the most basic skill within the geometry discipline of math, so it makes sense that we spend some time teaching our preschoolers about shapes.
But there’s more to shapes than just their names. These preschool shape activities will take you beyond just memorizing shape names.
Kids learn best with hands-on activities, and that is what these are! Toddlers and preschoolers alike, and even kindergarten students, will love these fun shape activities because of all that hands-on learning! They are easy to set up and require minimal materials.
FAQ About How to Teach Shapes to Preschoolers
The following are the most frequently asked questions about how to teach shapes to preschoolers and toddlers, including which preschool shapes are appropriate for learning. there are a lot of shape activities for kids that include free printables, like these lesson plans, making teaching shapes super easy!
In preschool, children learn to identify and name shapes by using materials such as posters, blocks, games hands-on manipulatives, and books. Learning shapes is a process and requires repetition and practice. Scavenger hunts, shape collages, and sensory bins all help children learn to identify basic shapes.
By the time a preschooler is bound for kindergarten, they should be able to identify the following shapes:
You can find this and more in my Toddler & Preschool Assessment & Portfolio Pack.
Shapes are the foundation of geometry! In a preschool setting, geometry skills include identifying shapes, comparing shapes, differentiating between shapes, and creating shapes.
Teaching shapes to your preschooler is more than just teaching them to name them. Learning shapes helps children identify and organize visual information, learn spatial awareness and visual discrimination. Learning shapes also helps children understand other signs and symbols, such as street signs or icons on a computer app.
There are endless fun pre-k shape activities for use in the classroom! We have included eight hands-on center activities and games in our lesson plans that teach shapes to preschoolers. Plus, we have created specific shape photo cards which encourage preschoolers to dive deep into a photograph and make connections to how shapes are all around us.
Hands-on Preschool Shape Activities
These shape activities are available in a download at the end of this post. They offer 16+ activities to complete over the course of a week and are a part of my Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans.
To see more of my free Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans, just click below.
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Literacy Activities for a Shapes Theme
Building Letters & Shapes Using Pipe Cleaners – Did you know that learning shapes help children recognize letters? Letters are very similar to shapes. The letter V is a triangle missing a side, and the letter O is just a circle. Using pipe cleaners, invite your preschooler to build some basic shapes. Can you turn any of those shapes into a letter or number with a quick tweak? What new letters/numbers can you make?
Shapes and Letters Collage – Using an old magazine or two, invite your preschooler to cut out all different kinds of shapes. While looking for shapes, encourage them to look in the magazine for the letters in their names. Look for favorite toys or foods, too! Cut everything out and assemble it on a collage. Invite your preschooler to talk about their collage and name all the items they picked out. Then display it proudly!
Don’t Forget Picture Books About Shapes
When I first started teaching, there weren’t many picture books to help teach shapes to preschoolers. But things have changed! Here is a book list featuring my favorite shape books to read to my preschoolers.
Math and Science Activities for a Shapes Theme
Geometry Shape Train – Help your preschooler learn about the different properties of shapes by manipulating them to fit into a specific shape or design on paper. This activity develops spatial awareness and shape recognition. Print the train template and the shapes, and match the shapes to fill the train! Your growing engineer will love this activity!
Shape Activities with Movement – Grab some painters tape and make a few large shapes on the floor. Encourage your preschooler to trace the shape with their hand (and foot!) and hop, dance, or slide across the shape. This is a good activity for rainy days, too.
Which Shape is the Strongest? – Fold three pieces of construction paper into differently-shaped tubes. Fold one tube into a triangle, one into a square, and the other into a cylinder. Test which tube is the strongest when putting various items with a similar weight on top.
Playful Learning Activities for a Shapes Theme
Body Shapes – What shapes can you make with your body? Invite your preschooler to lie on the floor and try to make different shapes. What if you worked with a sibling or friend? What shapes can you make then? Take pictures of your preschooler and show them the shapes they made.
Mirror, Mirror Game – Face your preschooler and have them attempt to copy all your movements. Be silly! Run in place! Act like a monkey! Then switch roles and copy your preschooler. Can you make shapes with your body or hands? Challenge your preschooler to name “new shapes” they might create with their bodies while you copy them.
Sock Basketball – Help with the laundry by tossing clothes into the basket. Roll up clothes into a ball (or sphere) and toss them into the laundry basket. Two points for making it in on the first try! Make it into a fun game and gather all the laundry from around the house to be a big helper.
Social-Emotional Activities for a Shapes Theme
Kid Yoga – Devoting time to stretch, move, and center our bodies is great for people of all ages! Go to YouTube and watch the video Kids Yoga Alphabet. Join in with the instructor and encourage your preschooler to practice some of the alphabet shape movements. If they are hesitant, allow them to watch and begin when they are ready. Encourage taking deep breaths, trying to be calm and centered, and model making mistakes as you try different poses. Keep it fun and engaging!
Drawing Confidence – Go to YouTube and listen to the book A Drawing Game by Anitha Murthy. After listening, invite your preschooler to do just like the young girl in the book and think of the shapes when she intends to draw something. As children get older, they often struggle with their drawing not matching the idea in their head or get frustrated when it doesn’t come out as they had hoped. Encouraging your preschooler to always think of the shapes when drawing will help them feel confident and like a true artist!
Just Plain Fun Activities for a Shapes Theme
Shape Flower Craft – This fun craft allows your preschooler to get creative with shapes and colors. Cut out various shapes from construction paper…the more the better! Challenge your preschooler to use the shapes to make various flowers. How many different designs can they come up with? If you have a preschool class, make an entire flower garden of shapes to hang on the wall!
Shape Pizza Craft – Kids love pizza! So why not make a shape pizza using construction paper? Invite your preschooler to draw various shapes on colored paper that represent the toppings. Circles for pepperoni, rectangles for cheese, triangles for pineapples…the options are endless! Glue them all down on a large circle for your pizza crust and have fun being a pizza chef! This is also a great activity to add to your Food and Nutrition Theme.
Playdough Shapes – Get creative with playdough shapes! Make houses, pizza, cakes, cars, and more. What shapes are used to make these different items?
Our Favorite Toys to Teach Shapes
You don’t need specialty toys or manipulatives to be an effective teacher, but if you’re looking for some shape manipulatives, these are some of the most used in my own classroom.
Safe Online Activities for a Shapes Theme
Online Story – Go to YouTube and listen to the book Round is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong. As you are listening, review any unknown words with your preschooler. Encourage your preschooler to answer the questions on each page as you read to make this book even more interactive.
Learn Shapes with Pete the Kitty – Follow along with our favorite Pete the Kitty and learn shapes and colors! And who doesn’t love Pete the Cat?!
Shapes are Everywhere Song – This song offers a great way to help your preschooler identify the names of the shapes, as well as where we see these shapes in our everyday lives.
Get Your Free Preschool Shape Activities Here
These shape activities ate written up as lesson plans to be completed in about a week’s time, but you can use them any time of year! Grab your free Learn At Home Preschool Lesson Plans by clicking the image below.
You Might Also Like These Lesson Plans
This Shapes Preschool Math Unit includes everything you need to teach beginning geometry and shapes in preschool math!
It gives you the lesson plans and the centers, as well as smaller daily math activities to keep your students learning. Not only will your preschoolers learn how to identify basic shapes, but they will also develop spatial awareness skills. From matching and sorting to graphing shapes and tracing, your preschooler will gain a strong foundation in geometry with these lesson plans.
With four complete weeks of lesson plans and over 36 hands-on activities, your preschooler will love math, too!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.