What preschooler doesn’t love a shape train activity? And this train activity teaches preschool geometry. With the included free printable, you get a template train with different shapes for your preschoolers to cut and glue.
So choo, choo! Let’s get this train on the road and have some fun with geometric shapes for preschoolers.
Have you ever noticed that young children are naturally drawn to blocks?
In fact, a baby’s ability to stack blocks is often asked at well child check-ups. The ability to do so is indicative of so many cognitive and future math skills. Your pediatrician starts asking about colors and shapes at their four-year check-up, too.
That’s because preschoolers not only have an interest in beginning geometry skills, but they are also very capable of it!
It’s activities like this shape train that makes our Shape Lesson Plans for Preschoolers so stinkin’ fun!
What is Preschool Geometry?
Geometry is a lot more than simply knowing shapes. It’s also about how to manipulate those shapes and how to fit them into different special concepts.
For example, completing puzzles is a beginning geometry skill. Children are given a shape of some sort to fit into another shape, thus requiring them to manipulate the puzzle piece within a set space.
Sounds a bit like developing spatial awareness, right? Well it is, and that’s an important skill for preschoolers as they are learning, even, how to manipulate their bodies to fit in the available space.
Ever seen a preschooler try to sit on a specific mat during circle time and completely miss it? That’s not just a lack of coordination.
Preschool Geometry Skills
Here are some basic geometry and shape skills pre k students should master before entering kindergarten.
- Knowledge of shape names
- Knowledge of some shape attributes (a circle is round, a triangle is pointy)
- Completing 16-24 piece puzzles
- Stacking blocks
- Understanding of positional words, such as up, under, around, below, etc.
Shape Train Activity
This train with shapes activity is loaded with lots of early geometry skills for preschoolers, but also…trains. Kids love trains and this shape activity fit in perfect with your transportation theme.
This shape activity comes with two different train templates, and a page of shapes for preschoolers to cut out.
If cutting out the shapes is too difficult for your preschoolers, you can cut them out in advance or pick up some shape stickers. These stickers will not be an exact match, but they are certainly convenient.
This train activity requires a little too much scissor skill than your average, or even advanced, preschooler is likely to have. So I cut out the shapes pieces myself.
Place the shapes in on a tray along with some glue and a few copies of the printable shape train template.
Shape Train Template
Now, I know my own preschoolers well enough to know that as soon as they grab a glue stick they are going to start gluing the shapes all willy-nilly.
And that it perfectly ok if your goal is about process and art, but my teaching goals were about teaching my preschoolers beginning geometry skills.
If your teaching objective is to keep this a preschool geometry activity, then here are some steps to consider.
The first step is always just to play and experiment with the shapes. Do not glue them yet.
Allow your preschoolers to simply arrange the shapes as they would like. Maybe the want to lay them on the train template, maybe they want to sort them by color, maybe they want to use the shapes to make a flower.
Make a Train Using Shapes
After the children have had some time to just play with the shapes, then it’s time to start gluing them down.
Take a step back and allow your preschoolers to work at their own accord. Try not to interject if they change their plans as they work.
Questions to Ask Preschoolers About Shapes
Shape activities like this one are most successful when there is a facilitator, such as a parent or teacher, talking the preschooler through the choices they are making, and asking questions to make the preschooler question various alternatives.
- What colors can you use to make your train?
- What other shapes can you use to fill this train car?
- How many shapes have you used in your train?
- How many different ways can you make ___ shape?
- What would your train look like if you added a ___ here?
- How can you use the shapes to make your own train [without a template]?
Do you have a favorite train activity that What other shapes and early math concepts?
Geometry Activities for Preschoolers
Remember that learning shapes is only one skill in geometry for pre k students. Here are some other shape and geometry activities for preschoolers.
- Weekly Shapes Lesson Plans
- 3-D Shape Hunt
- Shape Rocket Ship Template
- Painting Shapes Activity
- Geoboard Shapes
Get Your Shape Train Craft Template
Add this to your transportation theme or your train theme. Put it in your math center or even your art center! Grab your copy of the shape train template by clicking the image below.
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.