Fun Activities for Teaching Basic Shapes

We are surrounded by shapes and colours. And knowing how to identify them is an important part of early learning. It’s an ability that sets up a lot of fundamental skills. For example, letters and numbers are made up of shapes. If a child knows what a circle looks like, she will be able to identify the letters 0 and number 0.

Learning Through Play

Children learn through play. Play allows them to understand and learn about the things around them. Most children are curious and play encourages exploration and discovery. A play must be enjoyable and engaging to maximize learning. It should also be voluntary, spontaneous and involve elements of make-believe. Role-playing is one of the most common forms of play. It sparks a child’s imagination and expands her creativity.

Shapes & Colours

Learning about shapes and colours is much more fun when play is involved. Playing games involving shapes are great ways to learn about them. There are many fun and engaging activities involving shapes that both you and your child can enjoy.


Using toys as teaching tools is good. There are many toys that have educational value. For instance, a shape sorter is a good toy to teach shapes and colours. It does a good job at encouraging development too. Playing with a shape sorter develops a child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It also helps a child develop her problem-solving skills and teach her about patience.

Choose toys that are age-appropriate and simple to play. You can always make them fun and engaging. For instance, you can ask your child to name a shape before fitting it into the corresponding hole in the sorter. Or you can ask her to sort the shapes with the same colour.

Minimise the use of battery-operated toys. These types of toys are entertaining but they do not encourage development. A traditional shape sorter encourages a child to use her imagination and creativity. A battery-operated one doesn’t.

Creativity & Imagination

You can encourage your child to use her creativity and imagination. Teaching your little one shapes and colours can be fun too! Here are few ideas:

  • Ask her to visualise a shape in her mind then draw the image on a piece of paper. If she has crayons, ask her to colour the shape.

  • You can also ask her to make funny monsters with shapes as body parts. For example, she can draw a monster with a square face and rectangular body.

  • Another fun activity is to have your child draw funny faces using shapes. For example, ask her to draw a happy triangle with a happy face.

  • You can use household objects and ask your child to sort them by shape and colour.

  • You and your child can make a popsicle stick shape puzzle. Colour each popsicle stick. Write the name of the shape and how many sides it has on the popsicle stick.


More tips

Be patient with your child. Children learn at different paces. Encourage her to keep on trying until she can identify shapes and colours on her own.

Make sure to read labels and warnings before buying any toys. Some shape sorters have detachable parts that could be a choking hazard.

Do your own research on what other parents are doing to teach shapes to their kids. Forums are fantastic places to read about tips and guides from like-minded parents. There are also a lot of informational videos about the subject on Youtube.


Next Up: Importance of Learning Shapes and Colours

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