25 Creative Activities and Ideas For Learning Shapes

Triangles, circles, and squares… oh, my!

Learning Shapes WeAreTeachers

Learning shapes is one of the earliest concepts we teach kids. This readies them for geometry in the years ahead, but it’s also an important skill for learning how to write and draw. We’ve rounded up our favorite activities for learning shapes, both 2-D and 3-D. They all work well in the classroom or at home.

1. Start with an anchor chart

Colorful anchor charts like these are terrific reference tools for kids learning shapes. Have kids help you come up with examples for each one.

Learn more: A Spoonful of Learning/Kindergarten Kindergarten

2. Sort items by shape

Collect items from around the classroom or house, then sort them by their shapes. This is a fun way for kids to realize that the world around them is full of circles, squares, triangles, and more.

Learn more: Busy Toddler

3. Snack on some shapes

Learning Shapes Chieu Urban

Everyone loves a learning activity you can eat! Some food items are already the perfect shape; for others, you’ll have to get a little creative.

Learn more: Chieu Anh Urban

4. Print with shape blocks

Learning Shapes Pocket of Preschool 2

Grab your shape blocks and some washable paint, then stamp shapes to form a design or picture.

Learn more: Pocket of Preschool

5. Go on a shape hunt

Learning Shapes Nurture Store

These “magnifying glasses” make an adventure of learning shapes! Tip: Laminate them for long-term use.

Learn more: Nurture Store UK

6. Hop along a shape maze

Use sidewalk chalk to lay out a shape maze on the playground or driveway. Choose a shape and hop from one to the next, or call out a different shape for every jump!

Learn more: Creative Family Fun

7. Assemble a truck from shapes

Learning Shapes Little Family Fun

Cut out a variety of shapes (excellent scissors skills practice!), then assemble a series of trucks and other vehicles.

Learn more: Little Family Fun

8. Stretch out shapes on geoboards

Teachers and kids love geoboards, and they’re a great tool for learning shapes. Give students example cards to follow, or ask them to figure out the method on their own.

Learn more: Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station

9. Drive on shaped roads

Use these free printable road mats to work on shapes. Bonus: Make your own road shapes from sentence strips!

Learn more: PK Preschool Mom

10. Find shapes in nature

Take your shape hunt outside and look for circles, rectangles, and more in nature. For another fun activity, gather items and use them to make shapes too.

Learn more: Nurture Store UK

11. Put together craft stick shapes

Learning Shapes Surviving a Teachers Salary

Add Velcro dots to the ends of wood craft sticks for quick and easy math toys. Write the names of each shape on the sticks for a self-correcting center activity.

Learn more: Surviving a Teacher’s Salary

12. Blow 3-D shape bubbles

This is a STEM activity that’s sure to fascinate everyone. Make 3-D shapes from straws and pipe cleaners, then dip them in a bubble solution to create tensile bubbles. So cool!

Learn more: Babble Dabble Do

13. Prep a shape pizza

Learning Shapes Mrs Thompsons Treasures

Cover a paper plate “pizza” with lots of shape toppings, then count the number of each. Simple, but lots of fun and very effective.

Learn more: Mrs. Thompson’s Treasures

14. Construct shapes from toothpicks and Play-Doh

This is an excellent STEM challenge: how many shapes can you make using toothpicks and Play-Doh? Marshmallows work well for this activity too.

Learn more: Childhood 101

15. Outline shapes with stickers

Learning Shapes Busy Toddler 2

Kids adore stickers, so they’ll enjoy filling in the outlines of the shapes they’re learning. They won’t realize it, but this gives them fine motor skills practice too!

Learn more: Busy Toddler

16. Lace shapes

Learning Shapes Planning Playtime

Lacing cards have long been a classic, but we really like this version that uses drinking straws. Just cut them into pieces and glue them along the edges of the cards.

Learn more: Planning Playtime

17. Make shapes with LEGO bricks

Learning Shapes Pocket of Preschool

LEGO math is always a winner! This activity also makes a good STEM challenge. Can your students figure out how to make a circle from straight-sided blocks?

Learn more: Pocket of Preschool

18. Categorize shapes by their attributes

Learning Shapes Susan Jones Teaching

Work on geometry terms like “sides” and “vertices” when you sort shapes using these attributes. Start by placing shapes into paper bags and asking students questions like, “The shape in this bag has 4 sides. What could it be?”

Learn more: Susan Jones Teaching

19. Count and graph shapes

Learning Shapes Playdough to Plato

These free printable worksheets challenge kids to identify shapes, then count and graph them. Lots of math skills, all in one!

Learn more: Playdough to Plato

20. Create a shape monster

Learning Shapes Fantastic Fun and Learning

Add arms, legs, and faces to create cheery (or scary) shape monsters! These make for a fun classroom display.

Learn more: Fantastic Fun and Learning

21. Sift through rice for shapes

Sure, kids can identify their shapes by sight, but what about by touch? Bury blocks in a bowl of rice or sand, then have kids dig them out and guess the shape without seeing them first.

Learn more: Fun With Mama

22. Craft an ice cream cone

Ice cream cones are made up of several shapes. Encourage kids to see how many different ways they can make a sphere of “ice cream.”

Learn more: Extremely Good Parenting

23. Ask “What does the shape say?”

Learning Shapes Around the Kampfire

If you don’t mind the risk of getting that song stuck in your kids’ heads, this is such a neat way to combine writing and math. 

Learn more: Around the Kampfire

24. Piece together shape puzzles

Learning Shapes Toddler at Play

Use wood craft sticks to make simple puzzles for kids who are learning their shapes. These are inexpensive enough that you can make full sets for each of your students.

Learn more: Toddler at Play

25. Feed a shape monster

Learning Shapes Teach PreK

Turn paper bags into shape-eating monsters, then let kids fill their hungry bellies!

Learn more: Teach Pre-K

From teaching shapes to long division and everything in between, these are the 25 Must-Have Elementary Classroom Math Supplies You Can Count On.

Plus, 22 Active Math Games and Activities For Kids Who Love to Move.

25 Creative Activities and Ideas For Learning Shapes

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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