Here is a simple game that you can play with your toddler to help them learn about basic shapes. It would also be a great game to use when assessing a child’s understanding of shapes when in a preschool or school setting.
Learning basic shapes – a game for toddlers and preschoolers
Suggested age – 2 years +
This game is great to play outdoors and doesn’t require much to set up. Open space and a few thick sticks of chalk is all that you really need, and of course you could make your own chalk with my recipe.
To play the game
Absolute simplicity is the key to this game, especially when playing with toddlers. Begin by drawing 3 or 4 shapes on the ground and in different colours. They may be shapes your child is familiar or unfamiliar with.
Talk to you child about the shapes on the ground, what makes them unique and ask them to follow your instructions. Ask them to begin by standing on a chosen shape and then move to another shape you choose. This is obviously wonderful for gross motor development. If they can successfully pass between the shapes then you may consider adding more shapes to challenge them further. Encourage them to name the shapes as they land on them or repeat after you.
To challenge or simplify
This game is fabulous because you can very easily cater it to your own child’s individual needs. If they have difficulty in learning 3 or 4 shapes then have them jump between only two! If they have consolidated a solid understanding of basic shapes then you could move on to including more complex shapes, even progress to 3D shapes, which would suit older children.
It’s a great idea to show children how shapes exist in our own environment. Go for a walk around your location and point out shapes as you go, see how many you can find and one shape is more commonly found than another.
This game can also teach colours! Instead of having children focus on the shapes you may wish they focus more on the colours and moving between them.
This game encourages the opportunity for parents and children to use rich descriptive language. Obviously it is very much age dependent with regards to how challenging you make the game, however, for older children you might ask them to hop, bounce, leap, slide, skip between shapes and complete a little task on arrival. For example, “Jane, skip to the star shape and clap 5 times”.
Whilst this is a very simple approach to teaching shapes, it’s helpful for children. A little too often we overload them with information and no much really ‘sticks’. Keeping it simple and focusing on a few shapes at a time will have a much better outcome.
Would your child enjoy this shape game?
Here are some other ideas you might enjoy –