Updated on May 11, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Shape activities work for amazing solo play or for enjoyable time with mom and dad, while teaching your toddler in a really fun and educational way.
We also list 7 free shape activities for toddlers towards the bottom of the page to give you even more ideas that will not cost anything.
21 Engaging Shape Activities For Toddlers
Shape puzzles are a great way for toddlers to learn their shapes. Additionally, if the shapes are different colors, your toddler can also learn their colors at the same time. By lifting the shape, your toddler will also reveal the name of the color.
My toddler loves Play-Doh. One of our favorite things to do is make different shapes. Sometimes I will make the shape for her to tell me what it is and sometimes, I’ll get her to help me make it. It’s a fun and interactive way for her to learn her shapes.
3. Sorting Cube
Practice sorting shapes with shape sorting cubes. Sorting cubes allow your little one to learn their shapes by matching them up to the correct shape in the cube. These are engaging for solo play or for mom and dad to jump in too.
Shape magnets are great. They can be stored on the refrigerator, so if you have a toddler who insists on being in the kitchen when you cook, these are perfect. You can also ask you toddler to find specific shapes to keep learning interactive while playing.
Use shape flash cards to make a shape hunt around the house for your toddlers. This keeps them physically and mentally active. Pull a card and see if they can find that shape around the house. My daughter absolutely loves this. It’s great because it works as an indoor and outdoor activity.
Most toddlers love to draw and color. I have shape stencils that were given to us that my daughter loves. I will ask her what shape she wants to color and hold it in place for her to color. It’s something that is really simple, but keeps her entertained and has given her lots of practice with drawing shapes.
7. Shape Walks
Sidewalk chalk is a staple in our house. One thing we love to do is draw shapes in the driveway and ask our daughter to find shapes, by standing in it. It is something simple but allows us to get outside and still incorporate learning.
Let your toddler match the shape to his/her gameboard or play as a memory challenge. Either version will allow your toddler to start learning their shapes in an interactive setting. This is something they can play alone or with family/friends.
Using felt shapes, you can design several different simple images for your toddler to guess or even re-create. My daughter likes to put different shapes on the board and tell us what they are more than anything else with hers, but it definitely keeps her engaged.
My toddler loves blocks. She loves stacking and building with hers. Not only have we used them to help teach her shapes, but she’s also learned that she has to use the flat side to stack. When we get down on the floor to play with her, we’ll ask her to hand us certain shapes and she will.
Use shape blocks and boards to make different patterns. This allows your toddler to match the shapes up to the same shape on the board while creating cool patterns. Not only is this a great activity to help teach shapes and colors, but also helps develop fine motor skills.
This is actually great for those toddlers with older siblings who are doing homework. Workbooks can be a fun way for your toddler to feel like a “big kid.” Let your toddler trace shapes, create pictures with shapes, and more with workbooks.
Uses sponges with different shapes to incorporate art and learning. All you need is sponges, paint, and some paper or poster board. For me, the best place to do any sort of painting is on the back deck, but the dining room table works too! When my daughter is finished, I will usually go behind her and ask her what the shape is and label it.
Shapes Picnic Basket is perfect for teaching shapes. Each plate has 3 shapes designed to fit specific “food.” This allows your toddler to learn how to explore and match shapes, like a puzzle, while having a picnic. My favorite thing is this toy teachers more than just shapes, which is always a bonus.
LeapFrog Activity Books are great and work with any of the LeapFrog learning systems. Because it has multiple activities, it is something that will keep your toddler entertained and learning. This is something that is great for all toddlers, especially if they love to read.
16. Design a Tree
Use a tree shape sorter to make a beautiful tree. With shapes, such as hearts, circles and triangles, that fit into their own places, your toddler can learn how to match the shapes to create a fun design. This is great for cognitive and fine motor skills.
Use peg boards and wooden blocks to create different shapes. Let your toddler guess what shapes you make and see if they can make different shapes too. Different colored block also allows your toddler to use their imagination while designing their shapes.
Sorting shape buttons can help your toddler put like shapes together as you teach them their shapes. I usually have some paper labeled with the name of the shape and a drawing of the shape that my toddler can use to sort. Shape buttons are easy to find, making them the perfect way to create a game for your toddler.
Each half of an egg has a shape on them and works like a puzzle. The goal is for your toddler to match the correct halves together to form a whole egg. What I love about this, is it offers more than your basic shapes (such as a circle, square, and triangle), which creates more of a learning opportunity for my toddler.
Creating a shape scrapbook can be a fun bonding activity between you and your toddler. Have your toddler walk with you and find different shapes. This can be something like a wheel, ball, or a door – you can use your imagination here. Print the pictures or have them developed and have your toddler help put them into a scrapbook.
Shapes beanbags can create a fun came of catch with your toddler. Ask them to toss the square or you can pick a beanbag and tell them what shape it is before tossing (or if they know their shapes pretty well, ask them what the shape is). A simple game, can turn into a great learning opportunity.
7 Free Shape Activities For Toddlers
1. Shape Sticks
Popsicle sticks have always been a fantastic way to create shapes and for crafting. To complete this activity, you can print out different forms on a single piece of paper (make sure they’re big enough), and have your toddler place the popsicle sticks on top of the lines to create a shape. If you need to make more complicated shapes, you can choose mini craft sticks that you can find at any local craft store or on Amazon.
2. Chalk Drawing
After reading up on the variety of shapes, take your toddler outside to the sidewalk and show him/her the different configurations you have drawn. One by one, you can discuss the structures, what it is, and how many sides it has. Have your toddlers grab a piece of chalk, and have them try to duplicate it next to the one you have already drawn. Drawing with chalk is a considerable learning activity for outdoors, and you’ll even receive lots of sunshine in the process.
3. Rolling a Ball
To complete this activity, you’ll need a small ball, painter’s tape, and enough open space. Using your painter’s tape, tape down a bunch of figures all over the floor. Have your toddler roll the ball on the ground to see what figure it lands. Once it falls on a formation, you can give a description and have your toddler help to see if they can name it. This activity will work with bean bags, as well.
5. Build With Q-Tips
On the floor, lay out different pieces of construction paper. On each construction paper, you can write about a different shape. For example: “Let’s build a triangle.” Leave enough open space, give your toddler 3 Q-Tips, and have them try to build a triangle using the Q-tips. Your toddler can create a variety of builds and have them stand out by using bright colored construction paper for easier identification.
6. Shape Sorting in a Sensory Bin
Shape shorting in a sensory bin is a significant way for your toddler to identify shapes, along with developing their fine motor skills. This activity promotes sensory exploration, along with scooping up shapes and putting them into different cups. By catching and scooping up shapes and releasing them in the variety of cups, this will also provide them the opportunity to learn about scissor skills. You’ll need a small container, 4 cups, a scooper, and any small rocks for the bottom. Not only will your toddler develop excellent motor skills, but they’ll also learn about mathematics, concentration, imagination, and problem solving.
7. Fold Paper Airplanes
This activity serves multiple purposes. Firstly, you can go over the different shapes of the paper as your fold it e.g rectangle, square and triangle. But secondly, your toddler will learn the magic of airplanes through simple folding of a piece of printer paper. Our two toddlers have spent hours of fun doing just that with their daddy.
Toddlers are learning daily. Finding activities and toys that can keep their interest while teaching them new things is key to their learning. With so many different shapes, it is important to find interesting ways to keep their attention while they’re learning them. If your toddler doesn’t seem interested in an activity, try a different one. Not all toddlers will like the same thing.