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. With hands-on and exciting activities, plus a detailed scope and sequence for the whole unit, these shape lesson plans for preschoolers this is one math skill that will be a breeze to plan for.
Preschool Shape Activities & Lesson Plans
When I sat down to create a preschool math curriculum, I focused heavily on ensuring that the lessons, activities, and centers were designed to develop the math skills of every. child.
I knew it needed to spiral and review key concepts multiple times throughout the year, gradually increasing in difficulty. This approach is ideal because it covers math topics throughout the entire year. This allows children more time for mastery and an opportunity to increase the rigor of each lesson.
Learning shapes helps children identify and organize visual information. Shapes encourage preschoolers to visualize and connect to the world around them. Learning shapes also helps children understand other signs and symbols, such as street signs or icons on a computer app.
These preschool or kindergarten shape lesson plans are perfect for helping you plan engaging and developmentally appropriate lessons and activities for your students without loads of prep and time.
FAQ About Teaching Shapes to Preschoolers
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.
Shapes are the foundation of geometry! In a preschool setting, geometry skills include identifying shapes, comparing shapes, differentiating between shapes, and creating shapes. Learning shapes provides children with spatial awareness and visual discrimination as they identify different shapes.
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.
Shapes Hands-On Supplies
This curriculum is designed to be low-prep and utilize the same supplies during each math unit. Buy it once, and use them over and over again for different learning purposes! Take a look at some of the resources we use for each unit. These items are staples for any early childhood math curriculum.
All About Shapes Lesson Plans
These shape lesson plans for preschoolers are designed for up to a five-day-week program, but activities within a week can be removed and skipped for two or three-day-week programs. There are lots of activities that develop shape recognition, learning shape attributes, and using pattern blocks to develop spatial awareness and learn to draw and create 2d shapes.
Discovery Activities/Math Photo Cards
The discovery activities are so much fun! Each week contains a real photograph or illustration for the children to interact with. The photo relates to the concept and encourages oral language and math vocabulary development. Plus, the vibrant photos expose children to different places, animals, and cultures. It’s easy to see that math really is everywhere in our daily lives!
The math photo card example below shows a colorful plate of food filled with fun shapes! This engaging photo invites young learners to identify shapes they see, count the number of like shapes, and discuss the sides or lack of sides that the shape has. Kids learn that shapes are all around us, even on your lunch plate! Each photo card includes mathematical points, teaching tips, and engaging questions to encourage your children to think about each photo through a mathematical lens.
The daily dip is a review activity to reinforce previously taught skills. You will notice valuable teaching tips throughout the review lessons. These tips offer insight to help execute specific strategies in
the lessons. This section is optional depending on time and student needs but is certainly a valuable component of each day.
The photo below shows examples of the first week of the shapes unit. You’ll notice that the activities include counting, sorting, and matching which were learned in the previous units to ensure exposure and practice to essential math skills all year long.
Teach and Engage
The teach and engage section is a brand new daily lesson for your students packed with new learning. This component of the curriculum includes lots of modeling and student interaction. Each lesson includes a bonus section that offers tips on how to make the lesson more challenging and provides extensions for children who are ready for more difficulty.
Shape Centers for Preschoolers
Shape centers and games are invaluable in preschool. We have included lots of hands-on shape games and math activities for pre-k that allow children to independently practice with engaging manipulatives. Remember independent centers should always be supervised in preschool and kindergarten.
Shape Formation Mats
This center reinforces how to draw the shapes and to make observations about each shape. These shape mats also children with valuable pre-writing skills and pencil grasp development. They can also be used with counters, buttons, pom-poms, or other small items laid along the lines to help with fine motor!
Shape Clip Cards
This center focuses on visual discrimination between basic shapes and colors. The grey shape at the beginning encourages the child to find the matching shapes regardless of color. This center can also be made self-checking by adding a dot on the back for children to check their work. Add popsicle sticks to this center and encourage children to try and create the focus shape. Are you able to make a circle using popsicle sticks? Why or why not?
This game is print is such a fun way to learn shapes. Piece the train shapes together to create one long train on the table. Then roll the number and shape die to move your game marker along the train identifying the shapes as you go. Play continues until each player reaches the end of the train. This center also includes a more complex version with advanced shapes like the rhombus, hexagon, pentagon, etc.
This center is all about the shapes! Children are invited to identify the gray shape and then find the matching puzzle piece with the same colorful shapes. This center is a great opportunity for children to make their own puzzles by drawing the shapes and creating matching pieces.
Everyday Shapes I Spy
Put the I Spy mats on a table with counters. Invite the child to choose a shape on the bottom of the mat and put a corresponding colored counter on top of each corresponding everyday shape. Continue until all the everyday shapes have been found. This center is also easy to differentiate with two versions of each mat, one with the total number of shapes on each mat and one version without.
Shape Playdough Mats
This center is all about the formation of shapes and hands-on fine motor learning. Invite the students to select a shape playdough mat. Encourage them to identify the shape. Then smoosh the playdough onto the shape, making it flat like a pancake, to match the shape. For more shape practice, add the cut-up straws around the shape, (use yarn for the circle since it has no sides), creating a border/shape outline. This center also provides the opportunity for children to create their own shapes using playdough and identify the sides and corners as well.
Everyday Shapes Sorting Mats
These everyday shape mats help children make the connection between shape drawings and shapes found in the real world. Mix up the everyday shape cards and set them in a face-down pile next to the sorting mats. Draw an everyday shape card and sort it onto the corresponding shape mat. Continue until all the everyday shape cards are sorted.
Spin and Cover Everyday Shapes
This spin and cover game is a perfect independent center for practicing shapes in the everyday life! Invite the child to select a spin and cover mat. Once they spin the spinner and identify the shape, they find the corresponding shape on the mat and cover it with a counter. Play until all the shapes have been covered!
Math to Literacy Connections
We have also included eight optional literacy activities that infuse math picture books. Children learn best through colorful illustrations and storytelling. These eight picture books bring shapes to life and build upon other math skills (counting, colors, patterns) as well.
Grab these fantastic books about shapes here!
Bear in a Square by Stella Blackstone
Big Box of Shapes by Wiley Lewis
Mouse Shapes by Ellen Walsh
Shape by Shape by Suse MacDonald
The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds
Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert
Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood
Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Thong
Get Your Shape Lesson Plans for Preschoolers Here
The daily lessons in shapes are completed and ready to use! Filled with daily lesson plans, centers, activities, and even literacy connections, this shape math unit is all you’ll need for your preschool lessons.
Looking for a Preschool Math Curriculum for the Whole Year?
We’ve got you covered! From sorting to graphing, counting to shapes, this preschool math curriculum is loaded with engaging activities, literacy connections, and daily photo cards to spark joy in math.
I am an educator, book enthusiast, and a stay at home momma to two precious and long-awaited littles. My degree is in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum and Instruction and I have spent the last 15 years working with young children. I feel very fortunate to have this time to watch my babies grow and I can’t wait to share my passion for learning and reading with you!