Learning Shapes through Play

An array of fun activities and games for toddlers aimed at teaching them about shapes in a low-pressure environment.

It is indeed a joyous moment when your little one steps beyond simply engaging with their shape sorter toy and begins to transfer those learnings to the world around them. Everything transforms. Muffins turn into circles and books scale down to simple rectangles in their innocent eyes. And to help their innocent inquiries grow into a structured understanding, we present numerous fun shape activities and games designed to teach them the concepts of squares, triangles, and more through a medium with which they are most comfortable - play.

Bright and early every morning, engage your toddler in an invigorating mind and body exercise that aptly doubles as a fun shape-learning game. Show your little one how easy it is to create a circle by moulding their tiny arms like a bowl in front of them. A minute stretch can modify this circle into an oval. Convert the classic downward dog yoga posture into a fun game of forming a triangle with their little bodies. Take it a notch up by renaming the familiar jumping jacks into a star-making activity.

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Set aside time for creating ornaments, an activity that can be enjoyable throughout the year, and not just during holiday season. This simple activity, also a great way to teach shapes. Cut out triangles, rectangles, squares, circles, hearts and stars from brightly colored construction paper. Then encourage your toddler to decorate them with use of markers, crayons, stickers and glitter. Following this, punch holes in each cut-out shape, and give them a small piece of yarn or ribbon to string through it. Once done, let them hang these on a tree in your backyard. It's an interactive way that leads to newfound interest in learning.

Learning Shapes through Play ImageAlt

Think of all the different ways in which your toddler can learn about shapes. Creating a homemade book for and with your child can be one such educationally rewarding experience. For this exciting DIY project, cut out 4-by-6-inch pieces of cardstock, just the right size to fit into a wallet-sized photo album, and decorate each piece with a unique shape. For instance, the circles can be created using happy-face stickers, glue-on snaps or oversized buttons. Meanwhile, the squares can be made from box tops and magazine cut-outs.

Supplement this collection with pictures capturing the different shapes existing in your home such as the circular kiddie pool, the diamond-shaped cookie cutter or the rectangular window in the child’s bedroom. This activity not only strengthens your child's understanding of shapes but also trains their brain to identify everyday objects in terms of simple geometric shapes.

There is another fun way to boost your shape-learning series: Exploring textures. Different tactile sensations play a crucial role in a child's learning process, a reason why Montessori preschools emphasize the use of sandpaper alphabet cut-outs. To employ this idea into teaching shapes, create circles and squares from a range of materials like corrugated cardboard, fabric or sandpaper. Your toddler can easily understand the distinguishing features of each shape, like the roundness and continuous curve of a circle or the sharp-cornered square, by running their hands over the cut-outs.

Convert the traditional 'bingo' into an accessible all-shapes game, perfect for beginners. For this, draw a simple 3-inch-by-3-inch square grid and sketch different shapes - circle, oval, square etc., in each square. Then draw the corresponding shapes on small pieces of paper or index cards and place them in a bowl. Draw each slip of paper one at a time and help your child identify the matching shape on their bingo sheet. The winning prize can be the opportunity of being the bingo caller for the next round!

Utilize long lengths of yarn to let your toddler design a variety of shapes. In this learning activity, assist them in creating a circle, square, triangle and a rectangle by arranging the yarn pieces on a table. Glide a line of glue on a piece of cardstock in the corresponding shape and help your little artist stick the yarn in place. For those who like to keep their crafting spirit high, this can eventually turn into a wall full of innovative homemade shapes for the playroom.

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Let your aspiring artist explore his/her creativity with his/her first art lesson that teaches how to transform simple shapes into complex drawings. Each drawing created by professionals starts with several fundamental shapes that piece together to form a meaningful design. In this activity, provide your preschooler with an assortment of paper cut-out shapes and a glue stick. Then guide them in arranging these shapes to create different figures ranging from human beings, animals to even, cars.

Activities like these not only build a strong foundation for understanding shapes, but they also enhance your child's artistic skills, encourage independent thinking, and offer a great mode of parental interaction. Enjoy this journey of shapes and creativity with your child, as they blossom in their ability to perceive and understand the world around them in a more structured manner.