Introduce the topic with a shape detective game!
Materials needed: Colour paddle (or see below for instructions to make your own), paper, marker, pen.
To make your own colour paddle, simply cut the shape of 2 magnifying glasses from a cereal or cracker box. Cut another shape (just slightly smaller than the others) from a transparent coloured sheet (I used a project divider in the photo →) to place between the two cardboard pieces. Tape or glue all three pieces together and voila, your very own colour paddle!
Questions and conversation during this activity:
“What do you notice about these two shapes?”
“How many shapes have we all together? Let’s count them together!””
“That shape has a lot of straight lines. It doesn’t have any curves.”
Keep in mind your child’s skill level and make sure to set them up for success while challenging their abilities. If you think this will be easy for your child, try using 3D shapes.
Make your Own Shape Sorter! (Math)
Materials needed: Muffin tray, foam shapes (or shapes cut from paper, cereal boxes, or other recycled materials), tape, marker or pen to label shapes.
There are a thousand ways to sort and match shapes with your child at home:
Make it a bit harder for older children by incorporating safe kitchen tongs. Invite your child to manipulate their foam shapes or blocks using the tongs.
Pasta Shapes (Sensory)
Materials needed: Cooked pasta.
Younger children may need a template to follow until they are more familiar with the properties of shapes. Click here to print basic shape templates for your child. Invite your child to manipulate the pasta to copy and cover the lines on the shape template.
Even younger children can fill cookie cutters or shape sorters with pasta (see the yellow placemat in the bottom photo).
Older children can make letters and pictures with their pasta shapes. For example you could use a square and a triangle to make a house.
At the Smart Cookie Club we like to add a bit of food colouring to the pasta to make it colourful! To do this, simply separate your pasta into 3 or 4 different bowls. Add a different colour of food colouring to each bowl and mix it up. Leave it for at least halk an hour to allow the pasta to soak up some of the colour.
Keep the cooked coloured pasta in the fridge (sealed in a ziplock bag) and reuse it for several days.
Mark Making Bags (Science)
Materials needed: Zip lock bag, duct or packing tape, paint (if you don’t have paint, use shaving foam or pudding instead).
Put about 1/2C of paint (or shaving foam or pudding) in the ziplock bag and use the tape to seal it shut.
Tape this baggie to your window and spread the paint out inside the bag.
Use your finger to press the paint in the bag and make marks. Encourage your child to try and make shapes using curvy and straight lines.
Try making a snowman using 3 circles stacked on top of one another, or a star!
Doing this against a window makes the marks more visible, but you can also attach the paint bag to any hard, flat surface (such as a table or wall).
For younger children use a permanent marker to draw a shape on the ziplock bag and invite your child to trace their finger over the marker. You can also seal a few small shapes inside the bag (such as shaped buttons, sequins or laminated paper shapes) and turn the activity into a shape hunt! Invite your child to find the shapes hidden inside the shaving foam bag. As they find the shapes, discuss the shape’s name and characteristics.
Lacing Shapes (Fine motor)
Materials needed: Recycled cardboard or cereal box, hole punch, marker, string or yarn.
Print Painting Shapes (Creative)
Materials needed: paper or recycled cardboard box (for painting on), paint (or pudding or fruit purees), paper or plastic cups and plates, other shaped safe kitchen items such as small tupperware containers or cookie cutters.
Older children may be able to use their shapes to make a picture (for example; use many circles in a row to make a caterpillar).
Copying Shapes (Building)
Materials needed: Building blocks (the larger the better!), masking tape.
You can adapt this activity for younger children by using your masking tape to make shapes on the floor. Invite your child to drive their car along the tape, outlining the shapes as they drive their toy car along. You can also use blocks or other toys to cover the tape outline or fill it in, making your own shape creations.
Making Popsicle Stick Shapes (Building)
Materials needed: Tongue depressors (or popsicle sticks), velcro (or magnetic strip/dots), glue gun (or strong glue)
A Math Variation For Preschoolers and Older Toddlers: If you don’t have any velcro or magnets at home, don’t worry, there is another simple way to play this game. Make shapes with your popsicle sticks, labelling the sticks with the number of lines in the shape and the shape’s name (see the photo for an example). Invite your child to sort the sticks and create the different shapes, paying special attention to the number of lines in each shape. Younger children will need to use coloured sticks (each colour representing a different shape - as shown in the photo).
Shape Store (Cooperative Play)
Set up a little shape store for your child. Parents and siblings can come to buy shapes from their store. As ‘customers’ request different shapes they will need to sort and identify the different shapes requested. When ‘ordering’ shapes from the store, use descriptive language (for example, “I would like to buy a shape with three straight sides. The triangle has three straight sides, can I please see one of those?”). Younger children may need an example to which they can find a matching shape for you (for example: I have one triangle here” - show them your triangle “I would like to buy another triangle with three straight sides please.”
There are tons of ways to expand on this activity station. Look around your home to find recycled materials, shape toys and other props. Invite your child to help you add one of the above items each day to enhance their play through the week. Adding a new item creates a sense of novelty, making it exciting all over again.
The Shape Hop (Movement)
Materials needed: Shapes cut from paper or cardboard (or re-use your lacing shapes) a speaker or way to play and stop your favourite dancing music.
This game is a lot like the game ‘musical chairs’ we all played as children.
Younger children may go on a bit of a shape hunt when the music stops. Follow your child’s lead and comment on the shapes as they collect them. For example, “Wow, you found the round circle… and now you have the triangle which has points and lines!”.
We hope you have enjoyed these activities!
Please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions and feel free to share and tag us in your photos and stories about these activities!
Activity Pack created and produced by Mary Wolff
ⒸCopyright ⓇAll Rights Reserved
SAMPLE ACTIVITY PACK
By exposing children to opportunities that help nurture their developing skills, we can enhance their self-esteem, sense of independence and instill a lifelong love for learning.
Shapes Activity Pack Sampler
Teaching your child about shapes will involve more than just showing them a triangle. Your child will learn more about triangles if they pick one up and explore and play with it or create a triangle with their hands or body movements.
It is also important to keep in mind the language you are using throughout the activities this week. Make sure you are using the language of geometry:
Good Morning Song
Going on a Shape Hunt
Which Shape is Missing?
Searching for Shapes in the city
Smart Cookie Club
Stay. Play. Learn.