18 Simple Shape Activities For Preschoolers

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

We know many of you are home with little ones, looking for simple age-appropriate activities. Let's focus on Shapes!

Discerning shapes provides the building blocks for mathematical reasoning. When your child learns to discern the similarities and differences between shapes, they are using the same skills they need to recognize the differences between numerals.

Here are 18 super-simple activities to practice shapes with your preschooler. No fancy supplies required!

1. Shape Scavenger Hunt

Ask your child to tell you about shapes. How many can your little one think of? Invite them to discover shapes in your home. Their bed is a giant rectangle. The doorknobs are perfect circles. Perhaps there's a special triangle-shaped window in your home. How many shapes can they find in all? How many circles?

Would they enjoy snapping some photos of the shapes they find? Drawing them on a piece of paper?

For older children, you can begin to talk about the difference between 2D and 3D shapes.

2. Hidden Shapes

With a white crayon, draw one large shape on a white piece of paper. (Make multiple shapes if you'd like the activity to last a bit longer.) Tell your child you found some magic mystery paper! There are hidden shapes on the paper that they have to find. Give them a marker, water color, or finger paint and have them color over the paper.

The shapes you drew will magically appear! (Water color works best.) What else can you hide on the paper? Can you reverse roles and have your child hide shapes from you?

3. Dry Erase Shapes

Do you have a dry erase marker in the house? Find a window and work together to draw all the shapes you can think of. (That's right, draw it right on the window! The dry erase marker will wipe right off, so there's no mess for you.) If you don't have a dry erase marker, you can do this on paper, taping it to the wall to make a "Shape Mural".

4. Cookie Shape Time

Your kids will love this simple Shapes Cookie Time game on ABCMouse.com. They have to use the spatula to match the correct cookie shape with the plate it belongs to. It's such a cute game. We're a proud affiliate.

5. Nature Shapes

Invite your child to head outside for some fresh air. Begin collecting some rocks, sticks, acorns, and other natural materials. Start making shapes with the objects, and invite your child to do the same. (This also works with letters and numbers!)

If it's too cold or rainy outside, you can do the same thing indoors with cheerios, legos, blocks, marbles - whatever you've got laying around.

6. Magic Paper Towel Shapes

This is truly magical! (And so easy!) Fold one piece of paper towel in half so that it looks like a book. On the inside of the book, draw a colorful shape. Now, fold your paper towel book so that you can't see your drawing anymore. Drop it into a bowl of water, and watch how your colorful shape magically appears! What else can you draw?

7. Messy Mud Shapes

Grab some containers you don't care much about, some plain paper, and a handful of old paintbrushes. Outside, scoop a healthy amount of dirt into each container, and then add a small amount of water and good amount of food coloring. If you don't have food coloring, this will be just as fun with plain old mud. Some recipes call for dish soap to help prevent stains in clothes, but it's also optional. You're ready to paint some muddy shapes!

8. Shapes At The Zoo

Do you see a triangle or a a rectangle shape at the Zoo? Pick the correct shape on this fun ABCMouse.com game.

9. Paper Shape Love Notes

Trace and cut out different shapes of paper, like a square, triangle, circle, star, and heart. Write messages to family members and send them out to brighten their day. If your child isn't writing much yet, have them practice their name, or the first letter of their name. A drawing is special, too!

10. Meet Mrs. Diamond

Draw big shapes on a plain piece of paper. Invite your child to give the shape a face, hair, arms, legs, etc. Name you shape and hang it on the refrigerator. Be sure to say good morning to it each day!

11. Catching Shapes

Ask your child if they'd like to go play catch. Find an open space, and practice playing catch. Try throwing underarm, overarm, sideways, under your legs, and any other way you can think of.

Then, try throwing items besides a traditional ball. Can you spare an oval-shaped egg? What would it be like to throw and catch a wet sponge? A coin? A square pillow?

This is a great way for your child to learn naturally about spheres and 3D shapes, and how they move through the air.

12. Ultimate Shapes Memory Match

Ultimate Shapes Memory Match on ABCMouse.com is a fun way for kids to learn about shapes. It's perfect for ages 2-6.

13. Salt and Sugar Shapes

Pour some salt, sugar, sand, or something similar into a tray. Help your child trace shapes into it. Simple tactile fun!

14. Dirt Shapes

Find the perfect drawing stick. One that's sturdy with a fairly pointy tip, and just the right length. Find some dirt to draw different shapes into!

15. Tracing Bowls / Rocks

Grab some different sizes circular or square objects from around your home and invite your child to trace them on paper. This is a great way to compare shapes and sizes!

16. Shape Constellations

Trace shapes on a piece of paper and ask your child to poke holes along the lines you drew. (They can use a tac. Careful!) Then, shine a flashlight through the paper and see your shape constellations shine bright on the wall!

17. Water Shapes

It doesn't get much simple than this. Fill up a container with water, and grab a paintbrush. Head outside and water paint some shapes on the driveway, fence, or house!

18. Spin the Shapes Wheel

Spin the shapes wheel on ABCMouse.com to learn about what objects have that shape. Collect tickets as you go!

For more preschool activities, head to The Pond, a free online preschool community, brought to you by Milwaukee With Kids.

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