Discovering and learning to identify different shapes is lots of fun for toddlers. Working with shapes is also a great way to introduce young children to colors, matching, and foundational math skills. In this article, we share a variety of simple activities that use shapes and everyday items to engage children in tasks that introduce new concepts and offer opportunities to practice fine motor skills.
Why is Learning About Shapes Important?
Developing an understanding of each shape helps to prepare children for learning more complex mathematical concepts, particularly geometry. As children learn about shapes, they also learn about space, and how objects relate to each other. Child development expert Jennie Ito, Ph.D. explains, “Learning shapes not only helps children identify and organize visual information, it helps them learn skills in other curriculum areas including reading, math, and science. For example, an early step in understanding numbers and letters is to recognize their shape.”
Other skills that children develop as they learn about shapes include spatial visualization, categorization, symmetry, and recognizing similarities and differences. These skills support children’s later learning and set them up for success as they transition into kindergarten.