Children Learn Shapes Through Games
Cut out 8-inch by 8-inch squares of poster board and draw nine equal-sized squares on each card. Plan on four children playing at a time, so make four cards. Draw a different shape in each section. Next, make 36 drawing cards (the same size as each square section) from poster board and draw a shape to match the answer board on each card. During holidays you can change this game by including shapes like hearts (Valentine's Day), shamrocks (St. Patrick's Day), pumpkins (Halloween), and Christmas trees, along with the traditional shapes.
This game is similar to the traditional Bingo or Lotto games. The children play this game by taking turns drawing a card from the stack that is placed in the middle of the group. If a child draws a card (shape) that matches a shape on his answer board, he lays it on top of the shape. Now, the next child draws a card and so on. The game ends when all the children have their answer boards filled. As the children draw their cards, encourage them to identify the shape and call out its name. This game builds language skills as well as pre-math concepts.
Block Play and More
Provide your group with wooden blocks of all shapes for floor play. Whether building barns or castles, children learn about shapes during construction play. Preschoolers can also observe the block shapes, and sort them into piles (sets), of the same shape. Can they count the blocks in each set? Are there more squares, rectangles, triangles, or diamonds? Show the children how they can make patterns with them (square, triangle, rectangle, square, triangle, rectangle...).
As a variation with block play, cover a table top with white butcher paper. Invite the children to place blocks of various shapes on the paper, and draw around them with crayon, outlining the shape. Then put all the blocks into a box. Challenge the preschoolers to randomly select a block from the box, and match it to the outlines on the table paper.
Don't forget about using cookie cutters too! They can be easily traced and matched as well.
This is a fun activity where you can eat the project when finished. Provide each child with a paper that has several shapes drawn on it, such as circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles. Pass out snack crackers in these shapes at snacktime. Encourage the preschoolers to match their crackers on their page according to shape, and lay them on the paper graph. Have them count the number of crackers in each category.