Shape identification is one of the earliest cognitive and language skills your little one will develop. Many children can point to shapes named by adults before they can name shapes themselves.
A great way to practice shapes is to ask your child, “Can you show me the circle?” or “Can you point to the triangle?”
Another way to practice shape identification is to name the shape of objects you see in books, around your house, or on a walk in the neighborhood. For example, ask your child questions like, “Do you see the blue circle on the wall?” or “How many yellow triangles do you see?”
You can also name and describe shapes to your toddler. For example, “The stop sign is a red octagon; it has eight sides” Or “This book is shaped like a rectangle. It has two long sides and two short sides.”
The more you name shapes and point them out to your child, the quicker shape identification will develop. Picture books are an excellent way to practice shape identification.
- Little Star and Other Shapes by J. Y. Quinn
- Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh
- Big Box of Shapes by Wiley Belvins
- This is a Book of Shapes by Kenneth Kraegel
Ship Shape Game
Playing Ship Shape with your child will help them practice identifying shapes. How many stars can they find? Squares? Circles? Chances are, they’ll find them in the strangest of places! It’s a fun game of I Spy and shapes learning rolled into one activity.
For more Kneebouner fun, check out some of our other shape games like Shape Up or Shape-o-saurus.
Extending Shape Identification Play
Many fun activities exist to extend your child’s shape identification play and learning.
- Go on a shape scavenger hunt in your own house or your neighborhood
- Practice tracing shapes
- Build with multi-shaped blocks
- Use shape stampers
- Copying or extending patterns
Updated April 20th, 2023, by L. ELizabeth Forry