Today we did a really simple shape sorting activity. Although it seemed kind of mundane to me, my son was really excited about it!
Materials Needed: multi-colored foam sheets, black Sharpie, scissors, several baskets/bowls, tape, and notecards.
1. Draw the shapes that you want to review on the foam sheets. I chose a diamond, hexagon, circle, oval, square, rectangle, and triangle.
2. Cut out the shapes and set them aside.
3. Draw each shape on a blank notecard and write the name of each shape next to the picture. Then tape each notecard to an empty bowl.
4. Spread out all the cut out shapes onto an easily accessible surface.
5. Set up an area to do some sorting. We decided to use the carpet so that my little guy could crawl around and be more mobile.
6. Have your child select a shape to start with and start sorting. After the first few rounds, this can easily become an independent activity if your child seems to grasp the concept. We spent the first few rounds reviewing the names of the shapes and talking about their characteristics. "A triangle has three sides," "a diamond is pointy," "a circle is round," etc.
I tried to use several colors for each shape to make this activity a little harder. I knew that my son already could distinguish between all of the shapes. I threw in "hexagon" because we've talked about it before, but it is a little bit more difficult for him. To make this activity easier, you could pick one color for each shape and have your toddler sort mostly by color while reviewing the names of the shapes.
As we continued on, my son loved to look on the tray for all the diamonds (or whatever shape he was looking for at the moment)... and then put all the shapes in the corresponding bowl all together.
Placing two squares
To make this activity a little more fun, you could turn it into a Shape Hunt. Hide the foam shapes all over your house (or in just one room) and place the labeled bowls in an area where your child can reach. Send your child off on a shape hunt. When they find a shape or two, have them come back and put the shapes in the appropriately labeled bowl. Invite a friend over and have the kids do this activity together. Learning with friends is always more fun!
To make this activity even more challenging, make the shapes a variety of sizes and colors. Create bins/bowls that are labeled "small," "medium," or "large" (little, big, bigger... or whatever you want to do). Have your child hunt for the shapes and talk about the colors and shapes that they see... but then have them sort the shapes by size.
You can find more shape activities and books about shapes here.